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Japan

SAVING THE DUGONG

The Center is working with a coalition of Japanese conservation groups to protect the habitat of the dugong, a saltwater manatee-like creature that inhabits shallow water off Okinawa. The remaining population of about 50 Okinawan dugongs is threatened with extinction by U.S. military plans to construct a new airbase atop a coral reef near Henoko, on the east coast of Okinawa — the dugong’s primary habitat. To save what’s left of this gentle mammal’s home, we helped organize an international coalition, focus international opposition to the base, and file a lawsuit challenging base construction.

PROTECTING OKINAWA

Okinawa has been called “the Galapagos of the East” because it supports a dizzying variety of marine species. In terms of ecological diversity, Okinawa’s coral reefs rank behind only Australia's Great Barrier Reef, sustaining more than 1,000 types of fish and a host of other spectacular wildlife. The Center is working to protect imperiled marine species such as the dugong and imperiled sea turtles — as well as Okinawa’s coral reef habitat — from U.S. military activities. We’re also working to save the ecologically significant Yanbaru forest, which is habitat for extremely rare birds such as the Okinawa woodpecker and Okinawa rail.

SPECIES

Black-footed albatross
Green sea turtle
Hawksbill sea turtle
Loggerhead sea turtle
Okinawa dugong
Okinawa rail
Okinawa woodpecker


Contact: Jacki Lopez

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton