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Second and Third SESSIONS of This Year's Tanegashima Loggerhead Sea Turtle Survey Held


Since last year the MHI Group has provided support for the "Tanegashima Loggerhead Sea Turtle Survey" sponsored by the authorized NPO EarthWatch Japan.

Four sessions have been planned for this year, and following the first session held on May 28-30 (team 1), the second session (team 2) was held on June 25-27, and the third (team 3) on July 2-4. Both teams comprised six employee volunteers in addition to volunteers from the general public, and under the guidance of an academic expert and members of Turtle Crew, a local NPO, the volunteers undertook nighttime observations of the beach.

During the nighttime observations, volunteers searched hard in the dark for the tracks of sea turtles who had come to the beach to lay eggs. 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 behaviour. When found, turtles were marked with identification tags for research purposes, and their shells were measured, length and width, using a caliper. On this occasion, the volunteers could not find any tracks, despite some of them traversing the 2km beach three times over five hours. Even so, volunteers voiced their enjoyment at being able to walk on a completely dark beach under a full night sky of stars, listening to the waves and observing the noctiluca.

Team 2 identified 12 loggerhead sea turtles, of which they observed six laying eggs. Among the remaining six, one was, incredibly, a sea turtle that team 1 had tagged. Team 3 managed to identify 17 turtles, a record for an EarthWatch Japan survey. Among these, it was discovered that four were tagged; a turtle that failed to spawn on the first day returned to spawn on the next day; two of the turtles had been tagged by team 1; and a turtle that had been identified as bycatch in a Kumano stationary net and released by Turtle Crew members eight years ago had made landfall and spawned. These valuable results rewarded the efforts of the volunteers who had walked so far on the beach.It is planned that next time, the fourth survey (team 4) will observe the hatching of baby turtles on August 26-28.

Surrounded by blue sea and white sands, the Tanegashima Space Center is said to be the most beautiful rocket launch site in the world, and the coast of this island is a precious spawning site of the endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The objective of this MHI Group-supported survey 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.

Going forward, in accordance with CSR action guidelines, MHI Group will continue to promote efforts to protect the environment and ecosystems and make regional contributions.

Please refer to the following URL for details about the survey program. 新しいウィンドウが開きます

Please refer to the following URL for details about the previous survey (May 2016).

Employee volunteers listening to lecture prior to the survey

Group photo on the beach

Employee volunteers walk the beach to conduct preliminary survey

Loggerhead sea turtles make landfall

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