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Petitioning Chiba prefectural governor Kensaku Morita

Save the wild bird observatory damaged by the Tohoku earthquake in Japan

249
Supporters

When I was a kid, the Gyotoku Bird Observatory, located in Chiba prefecture, Japan, was my favorite hangout and oasis. Whenever I had a day off I’d go to the wild bird hospital first and check for any new faces while watching seagulls, tufted ducks, cormorants, greater scaups…and sometimes raptors through a telescope from the observatory. On a rainy day I used to stay in the library at the observatory and randomly read books about wildlife (or dinosaurs). On weekends I could explore within the normally restricted sanctuary zone for bird watching, accompanied by an experienced guide who could easily capture a halcyon or a goshawk sitting on a perch from a distance. I believe this rather rare experience of communing with nature in somewhere quite close to a big city has largely influenced my current life as a vet student.

The observatory was built by a non-profit organization (NPO) 37 years ago as a base for its activities and a place for visitors. The NPO has been working on this wetland/bird sanctuary to restore the ecosystem in Gyotoku Nature Reserve through reclamation, which has been heavily damaged by the Tokyo Disney Resort and multiple dwelling houses. The NPO has utilized domestic wastewater to raise plants and planktons, which subsequently attracted various fishes and birds. These efforts paid off and, now Gyotoku Nature Reserve is known as one of biggest landing zones for terns and greater scaups in Japan. Those migratory birds have gathered 50,000 birdwatchers from all over the country and overseas. Local school kids, residents and interns have also visited the place to experience wildlife and learn the significance of protecting and restoring it.

However on December 2015, the prefectural assembly decided to close the observatory, indefinitely, due to the severe damage to the building caused by the disastrous earthquake that occurred in Japan on March 2011. The prefectural assembly is not considering neither resuming the operation of the observatory nor reconstructing, but they rather intend to reclaim the wetland again. If this decision stands, there will be no children like me who can benefit from learning about and experiencing natural wildlife and the ecosystem.  Furthermore, the NPO’s environmental restoration activity will not be able to continue.

Please help me make a difference for local residents, children and hundreds of wildlife. Please tell the prefectural governor Kensaku Morita that the NPO is still needed there for its place of operation so that local residents as well as visitors can experience the great nature of Gyotoku.

 

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  • Chiba prefectural governor Kensaku Morita


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