Growing number of Okinawa rails killed by automobiles

Growing number of Okinawa rails killed by automobiles

A female adult Okinawa rail which has recovered from injuries caused when it was hit by a car, was released in Yasuda, in the Kunigami Village area on May 10.


July 2, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 1, the Ministry of the Environment’s Naha Nature Conservation Office announced numbers confirmed at the end of June for Okinawa rails and Ryukyu long-haired rats killed on the roads.
The number of Okinawa rails killed on the roads amounted to 19, almost equaling the 20 for the same period last year when the Office went as far as declaring a state of emergency for rare species of wild animals in Okinawa such as the Iriomote wildcat, the crested serpent eagle and the Okinawa rail due to the growing number road deaths involving those species.
The number of Ryukyu long-haired rats killed on roads was 14, an increase of four over the same period last year. The trend indicates a faster mortality rate than last year, which recorded 17 at the end of the year, the highest number to date.

The growth period for Okinawa rail chicks is July and August, when there is a high possibility that immature birds, that still lack attentiveness, could find themselves out on the road.
Last July and August nine Okinawa rails were killed on the roads.
Because it mainly lives in trees, the nocturnal Ryukyu long-haired rat moves slowly on roads, increasingly the likelihood of it being hit by cars.

Due to the high incidence of such accidents on roads in the northern area of Okinawa’s main island, the Office calls for drivers to slow down when driving either day or night, especially in the Kunigami area.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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