Number of accidents involving Okinawa rail and Ryukyu long-haired rats reaches a record-high

Number of accidents involving Okinawa rail and Ryukyu long-haired rats reaches a record-high

An Okinawa rail or Yanbarukuina paralyzed in the lower body has ambulation exercises while suspended from above at the Conservation & Animal Welfare Trust in Uruma City (photograph provided by the Yambaru Wildlife Conservation Center of Ministry of the Environment).


November 3, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 2, the Ministry of the Environment’s Naha Nature Conservation Office announced numbers confirmed at the end of November 1 for accidents on roads involving Yanbarukuina or Okinawa rails and Ryukyu long-haired rats. The figures released represent a record-high for the prefecture.

There were 34 accidents involving Okinawa rails, an increase of one over the last year, when the highest number was recorded since 1995. However, the number involving Ryukyu long-haired rats was 22, an increase of five over the last year, making it the highest number recorded since 2005.
All of these accidents occurred within the Kunigami-son region.

According to the Yambaru Wildlife Conservation Center of the Ministry of the Environment, locals have seen many Okinawa rails out on the local roads. Center staff speculate that Okinawa rails may wander onto roads in search of food such as earthworms that they find in roadside gullies.
The increase in the number of accidents involving Ryukyu long-haired rats is in direct proportion to the increase in their population. The greatest proportion of the incidents occurred in the period after 7:00am.

The Office stated, “Drivers need to drive within the speed limits and to take extra care when driving in the northern area of Okinawa’s main island.”
The Office requests that people who hit these animals while out driving, or see injured animals, report this to the office.
For further details, call the Yambaru Wildlife Conservation Center of the Ministry of the Environment on 0980 (50) 1025.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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