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Local bird continues its disappearing act

Date Posted: 2006-09-16

The Yambaru Kuina, Okinawa’s native bird, has conservationists worried as its numbers continue to dwindle.

Only 717 of the species remain, according the environmental specialists. In 1985, estimates were that 1,500~2,000 birds were residing in northern Okinawa forests. The mongoose is the primary predator in killing off the Yambaru Kuina, scientists say, but add that crows stealing Yambaru Kuina eggs from the nests are becoming a significant problem as well. “We have to protect this Yambaru Kuina,” says one. “Otherwise they will all be gone soon and we can’t find any on this earth. We need to exterminate the mongoose.”

Researchers have been studying the area around Kunigami Village and the northern forests, checking Yambaru Kuina numbers by counting cries. Officials have recorded voices of crying birds, which they play through speakers in the forest. Microphones then capture the return calls from birds, and those numbers are calculated.

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