Prefectural government aims to pass ordinance this year to protect Okinawan scarce wildlife

Prefectural government aims to pass ordinance this year to protect Okinawan scarce wildlife

Parent and child Okinawa rails (child on the left) walk along in search of food

July 3, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) has decided to propose to the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly an ordinance to protect scarce prefectural wildlife, due to the poaching and exploitation of Okinawa’s wildlife.

Because there are many rare forms of wildlife peculiar to Okinawa, and because enforcing regulations on species under current conservation laws is largely unattainable, the aim is to protect these species through an independent ordinance.

There is hope that this will also lead to the registration of the northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island as a World Natural Heritage site, and increased environmental protection.

Although enactment of this ordinance has been pursued since 2006, it has been delayed due to concerns such as difficulties with designating which species to protect.

Director General Norimi Tanahara of the Okinawa Prefectural Department of Environmental Affairs answered inquiries at the Prefectural Assembly, and expressed his intention to propose the ordinance and hope it would be enacted this fiscal year.

Assembly member Masataka Jiroku of the Social Democratic Party and Okinawa Social Mass Party coalition asked the questions.

On June 28 the Okinawa Department of Environmental Affairs’ Nature Conservation Division put the ordinance proposal on its website’s home page and enabled public comments.

Currently, national laws such as the Act for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora regulates the capture of 55 species of scarce wildlife in Okinawa.

Out of the 1237 species separated into 10 classes on the Threatened Wildlife in Okinawa (Red Data Okinawa) list, those regulated under law had been narrowed down based on experts’ opinions.

Okinawa’s proposed protection ordinance would greatly expand the number of species regulated.

The OPG plans to consult with the Prefectural Nature Conservation Council concerning which species to regulate under the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance will ban capturing, harvesting, killing, or harming specified scarce wildlife, will establish the penalties for these actions, and will designate some habitats as sanctuaries.

Also, the ordinance is expected to include measures relating to some of the 371 species on the invasive species list, banning actions such as releasing, planting, or distributing select types.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

Go To Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]