Okinawa, Pentax 645D
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Protecting the Okinawa Rail

Protecting the Okinawa Rail

Protecting the Okinawa Rail

The Okinawa Rail ( Gallirallus okinawae ) know locally as the Yanbaru Kuina is a small flightless bird that is endemic to the forests of northern Okinawa.

There are less than a thousand birds remaining on Okinawa, and numerous factors both natural and manmade are keeping the population small.

Various animals kill  the birds including jungle crows, mongooses and cats. The crows are a natural part of the forest ecosystem, but mongooses were introduced to try and control the habu snake population, and feral cats are discarded strays and their progeny. Signs are now posted telling people not to discard their unwanted pets, and for several years there has been a program to try and eradicate the mongoose from the northern part of the island.

Protecting the Okinawa Rail

Protecting the Okinawa Rail

Another common killer of the Okinawa Rail is motor vehicles. The local government has tried to reduce the frequency of accidents by posting warning signs for motorists informing them to slow down, phone numbers if you should find (or be the cause of) an injured bird, and mini exit ramps in the drainage ditches so that the birds can escape.

Protecting the Okinawa Rail

Protecting the Okinawa Rail

Hopefully these measures will prevent the number of Okinawan rail from dwindling further toward extinction.

Protecting the Okinawa Rail

The Okinawa Rail

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