Japan close to eradicating mongoose from Amami-Ohshima Island

Japan Times -- May 19
The Environment Ministry is close to completing the eradication of invasive mongooses from Amami-Oshima Island, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The mongooses were originally introduced to reduce the population of poisonous habu snakes on the island, but turned out to be preying on the island’s rare endemic species.

According to Shintaro Abe, head of the Amamigunto National Park office, about 30 mongooses were released in the city of Naze, now Amami, in 1979.

However, they were ineffective at eliminating the habu, a type of viper with a high incidence of biting humans, and to make matters worse, they were found to prey on rare species that were easier targets.

The mongooses led to a decline in the population of the Amami rabbit and other endangered native species on the island. On the other hand, the estimated number of mongooses on the island peaked at around 10,000 in 2000, reflecting their high reproductive rate.

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