Injured Okinawa woodpecker returns to wild after three months of rehab

Injured Okinawa woodpecker returns to wild after three months of rehab

Conservation & Animal Welfare Trust Vice President Michio Kinjo releasing the fully-recovered Okinawa woodpecker back into the wild in Ada, Kunigami, on March 16. The woodpecker was found with an injured tail feather (photographed by Sadaharu Shimabukuro).

March 17, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

Kunigami, Okinawa—In the afternoon on March 16, a rescued Okinawa woodpecker was released back into the wild in Ada, Kunigami, where it was found injured. Okinawa woodpeckers are an endangered species and also designated a special national treasure. The bird was found entangled in a net meant to keep away wild boars, and its tail feather was injured. The woodpecker was taken in for rehabilitation for three-months following its rescue.

The Conservation & Animal Welfare Trust provided care for the woodpecker, and the vice president of the organization, Michio Kinjo, released the bird by perching it on to a tree branch. Onlookers included the farmer who rescued the Okinawa woodpecker and staff of the Yambaru Wildlife Conservation Center. The bird hopped up the tree branches and flew off into the forest.

The rescued Okinawa woodpecker was a young male bird about 10 months old. It was approximately 30 cm long and weighed 153 grams. It was found on December 25, 2019, entangled in a net and crying for help.

Kinjo commented, “The Okinawa woodpecker looks for food on the ground too. We shouldn’t leave unnecessary nets lying around, [they] need to be properly managed.”

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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