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Employees Participate as Volunteers in the First SESSION of This Year's "Tanegashima Loggerhead Sea Turtle Survey"

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Since last year the MHI Group has provided support for the "Tanegashima Loggerhead SeaTurtle Survey" sponsored by the authorized NPO EarthWatch Japan. On May 28-30 the first of four survey sessions scheduled for this year was carried out by a total of 10 participants, including seven employees who volunteered their assistance, one volunteer from the general public, and two members of the Kagoshima University Sea Turtle Researching Society.

Under the guidance of an academic expert and members of Turtle Crew, a local NPO, the volunteers divided into four squads to undertake nighttime observations in two areas of Tanegashima: Nagahama Beach on the island's western side and Maenohama Beach on the southern side. Over the course of two nights they encountered nine loggerhead sea turtles, finding them in the dark by tracing their tracks as they made their way across the sandy beach to spawn. Of the nine, six were confirmed to be laying eggs. For follow-up research purposes, the turtles were marked with identification tags and their shells were measured, length and width, using a caliper.

Before taking part in the survey, the research expert gave the volunteers a presentation on turtles' sensitivity to light and their spawning behavior. Every effort was made not to disturb this natural behavior.

The employees who participated voiced their enjoyment at having such a rare experience, and they also said taking part in the loggerhead survey gave them an ideal opportunity to think about the environment.

The "Tanegashima Loggerhead Sea Turtle Survey" is an authorized undertaking recommended by Japan's National Committee for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB). The survey's objective is to study the situation of loggerhead sea turtles in Tanegashima, where almost no tagging of spawning females has been performed until now, in order to clarify data on the homing rate of females that spawned at Tanegashima and the migration rate of turtles tagged at other spawning locations.

The second of this year's four survey sessions will take place on June 25-27. We will report the results in this same format.