Jun 7, 2010

Okinawa Ecotourism vs the US Military

We admit we are pacifists and believe largely that if families raise their kids correctly, most young adults will not want to be involved in organized offense and defense. But we have also been accused of being unrealistic about the ways of the world.

It was interesting to hear in a recent Bloomberg report that the people of Okinawa Japan may prefer to have increased Ecotourism on their beautiful island rather than the large US Military bases, apparently 14, that now inhabit the island.

Yes the American military does provide many jobs to the non US islanders of Okinawa and yes the military has provided security for this part of Asia largely from Okinawa but the Japanese also realize how special Okinawa is and how those that appreciate nature may wish to go to Okinawa and spend money.

It may be hard for many Americans to associate another topic with Okinawa besides war.
The horrible end of WW2 battle was fought there and the US Military has been in residence there since 1945 but it as are many of Japan's southern islands is a tropical paradise

Here's a list of some of the important Flora and Fauna of Northern Okinawa:

Birds

1. Noguchi-gera (Pryer's woodpecker), Sapheopipo noguchi�@(Special National Protected Species)
A member of the woodpecker family. It is an extremely rare bird, the only member of its genus in the world.

2. Yanbaru-kuina (Okinawa rail), Rallus okinawae ( National Protected Species)
A member of the water rail family, it is very rare worldwide. It is a flightless nocturnal bird.

3. Honto-akahige (Ryukyu robin), Erithacus komodori namiyei (National Protected Species)
A sedentary bird of the sparrow order and flycatcher family.

4. Karasu-bato (Japanese wood pigeon), Columba janthina janthina (National Protected Species)
This bird has an all-black body with a purplish head. The breast is speckled with green and flashes of silver. It is an extremely wary bird, very difficult to approach.

5. Amami-yamashigi (Amami woodcock), Scolopax mira (Prefectural Protected Species)
A large bird of the snipe family.

6. Konoha-zuku (Scops Owl), Otus scops japonicus
A bird of the owl family believed to be the smallest of the Japanese owls. The photograph is of an adult and young.


Reptiles
7. Ryukyu yama-game, Geoemyda spengleri japonica (National Protected Species)
A turtle of the marsh turtle family. Its distinctive feature is a rough serrated green shell. It is very pretty and has always been popular with people.

8. Kuroiwa tokage-modoki, Eublepharis kuroiwae (Prefectural Protected Species)
A genus of the lizard (gecko) family, it lives in the forests of mountains and lowlands. When it senses danger, it sheds its long tail.

Plants
9. Iju (camellia family), Shima wallichi Korthals ssp. Liukiuensis Bloemb
An evergreen tree which can be seen growing over a wide area near seacoasts from second stage to chinquapin forests It blooms with a pale yellow flower during the rainy season in May and June and the blooms add a touch of brightness to the rainy forest.

10. Aobana hainoki (hai family), Symplocos likiuensis Matsum
A fairly tall evergreen which grows in the mountains. It blooms with a beautiful pale purple flower in March and April.

Mammals
11. Ryukyu inoshishi (Ryuyku wild boar) Sus scrofariukiuanus Kuroda
A smaller subspecies of the Japanese wild boar found only on the islands of the Southwest Archipelago. It is rare to catch adults and young together.

Amphibians

1. Ishikawa-gaeru (Ishikawa frog), Rana ishikawae (Prefectural Protected Species)
A large frog of the ranid family. Found only in the valleys of Okinawa and Amami Islands. A beautiful green colored frog with brown spots.
A Song of Ishikawa-gaeru�iMP3 data/381kb�j

2. Holst's gaeru (Dagger frog), Babina holsti (Prefectural Protected Species)
A large frog of the ranid family. Found only in the mountains of Okinawa Island north of Nago City and on Tokashiki Island. Unlike other frogs, it has five toes on the front feet.

3. Namie gaeru, Rana namiyei (Prefectural Protected Species)
A large frog of the ranid family. Found only in the valley of Okinawa Island north of Nago City. The pupils are diamond-shaped and the body dark brown in color. The face has a horny appearance. The short hind legs make it difficult to jump.

4. Ibo-imori (Anderson's alligator newt), Tylotriton andersoni (Prefectural Protected Species)
This amphibian of the newt family is about 16 cm. long with protruding ribs on the back. The Japanese name, ibo, comes from these ribs which resemble warts. Hasn't evolved for thousands of years and is sometimes called a "living fossil."

Mammals
5. Kenaga-nezumi (Ryukyu long-tailed giant rat), Diplothrix legatus (National Protected Species)
The largest wild mouse found in Japan. It is distinguished from other mice species by the long hair on its back and its extra long tail, which is deep black toward the root becoming white toward the tip. This is a rare mouse found in the whole world only on Amami, Tokuno-shima and Okinawa Islands.

6. Okinawa toge-nezumi, Tokudaia osimensis muenninki (National Protected Species)
A mouse of the rodent order, mouse family with spiky or spiny fur. Unlike other mice, it moves in springy leaps when surprised. It is a nocturnal animal dwelling in chinquapin forests. It sticks close to its local territory and is rarely seen.

Insects
7. Yanbaru tenaga-kogane (Yanbaru long-armed scarab beetle), Cheirotonus jambar(National Protected Species)
The largest specie recognized in northern Okinawa in 1983. The distinctive long forelegs of the males act as a weapon in battles.

8. Konaha-chou (Leaf Butterfly), Kallima inachus eucerca (Prefectural Protected Species)
Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae. It is famous for its wing camouflage, which looks like dead leaves. It is attracted to tree saps and threads its way among the trees. Okinawa is the northern limit of its distribution.

9. Futao-chou, Polyura eudamippus weismanni (Prefectural Protected Species)
Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae. The Japanese name, futa-o (two tails), comes from the two projections under the back wings. Seen only in the forest of northern Okinawa.

Plants
10. Okinawa Sekkoku, Dendrobium okinawense (Critically Endangered, Red Data Book of Japan)
Orchidaceae. A rare orchid in the forest of Yanbaru which grows on trunks and thick branches. A drooping stalk and an exceptionally large flower are distinctive features of this orchid.

11. Koke-tanpopo, Solenogyne mikadoi (Vulnerable, Red Data Book of Japan)
A plant of the chrysanthemum family. Its distribution is limited to northern Okinawa and several rivers on Iriomote Island. Seen on midstream rocks.

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