A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Bird Rescue Stuck in the Mud

By Avi Landau


Those of us involved in trying to have Tsuchiura’s lotus root farmers take down their deadly bird-ensnaring nets have been making efforts to rescue as many birds as possible from slow starvation, until that end is achieved.

We have become, however, metaphorically and quite literally, stuck in the mud. First, there are the technical problems which need to be dealt with. These are: slogging through waist high muck which in this season is covered with a sheet of ice and makes the going very slow and dealing with the entanglements themselves which can be amazingly complex and even more time consuming as we do not want to damage property by cutting the nets.This is exacerbated by the weight of the birds themselves with makes the nets harder to deal with.

Maurice, who drives the long way from Iwama to look for and save living danglers has applied his ingenuity to making our activities more efficient. He has bought chest-high waders, has found tools useful for untangling knots, has found that covering the birds with a sack calms them down, and has developed a sling which takes the birds weight off of the entanglement.

Even for Maurice, the going is still very slow and we need more volunteers. We thought that an article in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper would give some publicity which would help our cause. Even though the reporter showed an interest in the problem and in what we were doing and was generally quite sympathetic, the subsequent article left us highly disappointed in that it didn’t mention many of the crucial points related to the issue. There was also no mention of our volunteer activities.

One reason for this might be that many Japanese are currently upset and emotional about the foreign protesters who boarded their whaling ships. If this is the case, it was very bad timing for us.

Though we have had many disappointments, we are not about to give up. We will continue to push for changing the situation. Many other publications besides Asahi Shimbun have shown an interest in this problem and we will continue to appeal to the public. If you have any good ideas, PLEASE contact us.

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