Growing number of Ryukyu long-haired rats killed on roads

Growing number of Ryukyu long-haired rats killed on roads

Ryukyu long-haired rat (photograph provided by the Yambaru Wildlife Conservation Center of the Ministry of the Environment).


October 28, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The number of the road accidents involving Ryukyu long-haired rats is increasing, claiming the lives of 13 animals so far this year.

Experts warn that this year’s figure could possibly reach 25, exceeding the highest number recorded in 2011 in which 24 were killed on roads.

Ichihito Yamamoto, a native conservation ranger at the Wildlife Conservation Center of the Ministry of the Environment said, “When people are out driving, I would like them to look out for these animals.”

There were three accidents in September and another three in October. Most have been on Prefectural Road No. 2 in Kunigami, but some have occurred outside the area in which the center has issued an alert to drivers.

Because the rat is nocturnal, the accidents tend to occur late in the afternoon when people are on their way home, or in the early morning.

The rats become active during their breeding season from autumn to winter, so the number of animals wandering onto roads increases. Yamamoto said, “We will need to be careful when driving after next spring when young rats are out there moving around.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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