Civic group claims road construction is affecting woodpeakers

Civic group claims road construction is affecting woodpeakers

The nesting tree (on May 2, at the Okuni Forest Road in Kunigami).

May 3, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On May 2, Chosei Tamaki, the head of the Move Through Nature of Yambaru Association, an environmental non-governmental organization, submitted a formal complaint to the Nago Police Station. He said there is a possibility that construction work is adversely affecting the rearing of the young of the noguchigera, a nationally protected species of woodpecker.

Work is being carried out on the Okuni Forest Road in Hama, Kunigami using heavy machinery to create a space to deposit waste soil. He says that this has resulted in the death of chicks of the special national treasure noguchigera, or Okinawa woodpecker. This violates the Cultural Assets Preservation Act and the Act for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is not known specifically who is responsible.

According to the complaint, the association found a noguchigera nesting hole in mid-April. The parent birds took food to the hole until April 30, but on May 2, association members found that the hole’s entrance had been damaged by some kind of knife. From that day on, the parent birds were seen occasionally looking into the hole but not taking food in.

Tamaki said, “Normally, out of consideration for the birds’ nesting, there would not be construction going on at this time of year. This construction work will be negatively affecting them.” The Okinawa Forests and Greenery Division, which manages forest roads, has not commented on the complaint because they do not yet have a clear indication of the situation.

Noguchigera or Okinawa woodpecker raising their young (on April 30, the photograph was provided by Chosei Tamaki)

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

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