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Two Year Plan to Wipe Out Wild Mongooses

Date Posted: 2000-10-06

A prefectural campaign to eradict the mongoose from the wild within the prefecture starts today in three villages in the northern part of Okinawa. Some 800 mongooses have been captured this year so far. The campaign is scheduled to continue through 2001.

Officials hope that by 2002 the mongoose will have practically disappeared. The mongoose was introduced to Okinawa from India in 1910 when officials brought in 25 animals and let them out to the wild with hopes that the mongoose would control the islandís habu and rat populations. Since then the rats have been brought under control with other pest control measures and the habu has disappeared to the point where most people never see, one except in captivity.

Mongooses have turned their sights to other prey instead, especially to islandís wild birds, many of which are highly endangered. Officials hope that eradicting the mongoose, which has no natural enemies here, would help the birds recover from the brink of extinction, most notably Yambaru Kuina, a flightless bird indigenous to the jungles of northern Okinawa and Noguchigera, a Ryukyu woodpecker.

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