Tanegashima Island, where MHI Group undertakes its rocket launches, is a precious place where loggerhead turtles, an endangered species, regularly come to spawn. Since 2015, to protect and preserve the island's biodiversity MHI Group has cooperated with the NPO Earthwatch Japan in surveys targeted at protecting loggerhead turtles.
On January 19 a science class on the connections between rocket launches and loggerhead turtles was held at the Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe. The class was taught by Yoshimasa Matsuzawa, leader of the surveys conducted in Tanegashima and chairman of the Sea Turtle Association of Japan, an NPO widely recognized for its research in loggerhead turtles.
The class - the fourth to date, following last year's class at the Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum in Yokohama - was attended by approximately 80 elementary school third through sixth graders and their guardians.
Mr. Matsuzawa covered a variety of related topics. These included an overview of loggerhead turtles from a biological perspective, biodiversity and biodiversity protection measures, the relationship between space development and loggerhead turtles, and the survey activities so far carried out in Tanegashima. His explanations were easy to understand and occasionally augmented by quiz questions, and the participants - not only the children but the adults alike - listened with great interest. The class also provided the children a rare opportunity to view precious specimens of actual loggerhead turtle shells and skulls, an experience that added significantly to their understanding.
The Tanegashima Loggerhead Turtle Survey program will continue in FY2019. Earthwatch Japan is planning to recruit general volunteers through its website, so please refer to the following URL if you are interested in participating.
- http://www.earthwatch.jp/pj_domestic/join.html(Note: available in Japanese language only)
- About Earthwatch Institute
- About Suma Aqualife Park
Related news: Results of FY2018 Tanegashima Loggerhead Sea Turtle Survey