Nature tour held at Okuma River

Nature tour held at Okuma River

On October 28, at the Okuma River in Kunigami, Fumiyasu Sato (right in front) acted as a guide on a nature observation tour.

November 7, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 27 and 28, the Okuma River Protection Fund, a non-profit organization, held the fourth nature observation tour at Okuma River in Kunigami. The tour started in May this year and received support grants from the Okinawa Kaiho Bank Environment Fund. Fumiyasu Sato, the director of the Kumejima Firefly Museum told children about the rich biodiversity of the water creatures in Okuma River. He called for people to protect the Okuma River because it will be important if the Yambaru forests in the northern part of Okinawa are designated as a world heritage in the future.

Sato explained that in the 90s when the road through the forest in the Yambaru area of Okunirindo was constructed, red soil ran off into the Okuma River, which decreased the number of creatures living in it. The river has been recovering in the last few decades due to the rain draining the soil out into the ocean. However, the red soil flowing out from the river in turn pollutes the sea, and that is a problem. He expects that it will take one or two centuries to clean up the ocean.

In the tour, they discovered the dragonfly larvae of Chlorogomphus brunneus brunneus oguma and Chlorogomphus okinawensis, an endangered species only found on the main island of Okinawa. Sato said, “There is an abundance of food for these dragonflies here. I hope that many people will come to know that Okinawa has these rare dragonflies.”

Takashi Nagamine, from Urasoe, participated with his child, said, “It was even more fun for me as an adult. I didn’t know there are so many kinds of creatures in the river.”

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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