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Sea turtle takes home at Kunigami fishing port

Date Posted: 2003-04-26

A black sea turtle has established a home at Ginama Fishing Port in Kunigami Village, where local fishermen feed it with morsels of fish and local people take pictures of it for good luck.

A local fisherman says the turtle appeared in the harbor for the first time eight years ago. "It was then only about half of his current size. Since then he has become very friendly with us. He approaches the boats and we throw him something to eat. He is so cute when he sticks his head out of the water and looks at us straight into the eye," the man said.

The turtle approaches the boats underwater and when it surfaces, the fishermen throw it some fish to eat. It then disappears, only to show up next day again.

Churaumi Aquarium officials who have seen the turtle say it is a rather large male with the length of 130 to 150 cm. They say that Black Sea Turtles are rather rare in Okinawa, being mostly found off the coast of South America.

Kunigami villagers have become quite fond of their turtle. Sea turtles are thought to bring good luck with them. They are also the symbol of long life that Okinawan people traditionally cherish.

"We will make this turtle the god of our village. We will try to learn from him how to live long and healthy life," an elderly man admiring the turtle right off the pier stated.

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