Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Center for Biological Diversity: Save the Okinawan Dugong & Coral Reef System

(Photo: Center for Biological Diversity)

The Center for Biological Diversity is stepping up its campaign to protect Henoko, calling on even more NGOs to join CBD in asking President Obama to stop the planned huge expansion of Camp Schwab in pristine northern Okinawa. In a letter to other organizations, Peter Galvin, conservation director at CBD, describes the issue's urgency:
In Okinawa, Japan almost 400 types of coral form reefs that support more than 1,000 species of fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles. This incredible array of life makes the island second only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef in terms of marine biodiversity.

Tragically, a military project backed by the U.S. government threatens to doom a critically important coral reef near Henoko and destroy vital habitat for numerous rare wildlife species, including the dugong, an endangered marine mammal related to the manatee and cultural icon in Japan, and three species of sea turtle. Local residents voted against the airbase project in a referendum, but Japanese and U.S. authorities are ignoring their voices.

In July of 2004, 889 of the world’s leading coral scientists and researchers from 83 countries gathered at the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium in Okinawa, where they signed a petition in opposition to the airbase project. And the federal district of California district court has already determined that the project cannot proceed without the appropriate environmental review.

(Image: Dugongs Network OKINAWA)

This was originally posted November 28, 2009.

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