February 18, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo
The Okinawa Defense Bureau has not been able to confirm that the ocean around Okinawa Island is inhabited by dugong through its dugong surveys being conducted in association with construction the Futenma Replacement Facility.
In November of last year, the scope of the surveys was expanded to the waters surrounding Okinawa Island, and surveys were conducted by aircraft over the course of four days, but habitation by the dugong was not observed.
On February 17 the Ministry of Defense held the 24th Environmental Surveillance Committee meeting, at which experts explained the progress of the surveys up through January of this year pertaining to the dugong.
Aside from the surveys conduced using aircraft, surveys such as underwater audio recording surveys and feeing ground trace surveys have not obtained results that can confirm habitation by dugong.
The Okinawa Defense Bureau has been conducting aircraft surveys to confirm habitation by the dugong since 2007.
Initially, three individual dugong were confirmed to inhabit the ocean area around the northern part of Okinawa Island.
However, “specimen C” was last identified in June 2015, and “specimen A” has not been observed since September 2018. “Specimen B” was found dead on a breakwater in Nakijin Village in March last year.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)