Hai Sai! Welcome to my Blog.

Hello, my name is Tom Corrao and I am the blogger behind the Okinawaology Blog. I created this blog to share and discuss all things Okinawan. I’m also the Public Relations Officer and Minkan Taishi to the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai. My experience with Okinawa is derived from the time I spent there during the 1980's and 90's (10 years) when serving in the United States Air Force. I've also been married to an Okinawan woman for 30 years now and have been immersed in many things Okinawan through both friends and family. I do not claim to be all knowing about everything Okinawan but I try hard and study the history and culture. I welcome everyone that is interested in Okinawa and hope that I can provide useful information to those uchinanchu that may be curious about their culture and heritage. I also welcome those who are not of Okinawan heritage but have experienced, or are experiencing, the islands culture while stationed there with the United States Military. Comments are welcomed and will be published as long as they are in good taste and on track with the purpose of this blog. My hope with this blog is to bring Uchinanchu people around the world a little closer to their cultural roots by expressing information that has started to fade in light of a more modern world. We should never forget our culture or the people who came before us and through the Blog my intentions are to meld the old with the new and implant knowledge that will help maintain the traditions and culture of an island people.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Endangered Species Alert - Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle

The Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle is a rare turtle that lives only in Okinawa. It is currently on the brink of extinction due to deforestation and attacks by animals that were introduced by humans.

The Ryukyu Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle

The Ryukyu Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle is only found on the main island of Okinawa, Kumejima, and Tokashiki Island. They are omnivorous turtles which means that they eat worms and insects as well as leaves.  They are a relatively small turtle whose shell only reachs a maximum of 15.6 cm or about 6 inches. 

Because Okinawa is an island seperated from other lands by many miles of ocean many species have developed there that exist no where else on earth. The Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle is just one example of the Phenomena. Today, many of the animals living exclusively in Okinawa are potentially in danger of extinction for basically the same reasons.

First, the forests necessary for these animals to survive are vanishing due to urbanization from population growth. Secondly, these rare animals are often attacked by mongoose and feral cats, which were introduced to the islands by people. The Ryukyu Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle also faces a problem in regards to the style of roadside ditches present in Okinawa. For many years the ditches have been made square and deep which presents a potentially fatal trap for reptiles like turtles, lizards, and frogs alike. Often, the Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle will fall into these ditches and die because they cannot escape. Researchers studying the decline of the Turtle however discovered the flaw in the ditches design and Currently efforts are now underway to rebuild these ditches with a gradual slope so that small animals can climb out and return to the forests.
Save the Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle!

(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing about the turtles. It's great that you're raising awareness of the issue. I never knew how they were called in English either. Arigato : )