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Predator mongoose is still nabbing endangered birds

Date Posted: 2009-04-02

The Yambarukuina bird is still in trouble, despite massive government efforts to capture the mongoose that loves to eat the flightless birds.

The latest incident this week was reported by the NPO Foundation Animal Hospital in Uruma City, which noted that a mongoose captured from Kunigami Village had features of a Yambarukuina in its stomach. Mongoose prey on the hapless Yambarukuina, which congregate around Kunigami Village.

The Ministry of the Environment has been providing funding to capture and eradicate the mongoose from northern Okinawa, and officials report 144 have been caught in the past few months. The ministry reports that feathers of not only Yambarukuina, but also Noguchigera birds and other scarce birds have been found in the mongoose stomachs.

Manabu Nakachi is overseeing the extermination project, and he says “we didn’t think the mongoose have been coming to the northern part of the forest, too.” He says “we’ve been making protection fences along the roadside and forest to prevent mongoose going farther north than current spots like Nago City,” but adds “we can see that mongoose has been spreading their lifestyle to the more northern part of the forest.” He says more efforts will be dedicated to somehow protecting the birds from mongoose.

The project leader also warns drivers to be more careful, “because the Yambarukuina can’t fly, and cross the street by walking.” Nakachi also reminds drivers “the birds are so small, and black color, it is difficult to see them crossing the street,” adding “if you drive carefully enough, the birds will be safe.”

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