Ian Teh

Henoko, Okinawa, Japan

Ms Masako Suzuki, 66, the leader of the Northern Limit Dugong Research Team Zan. In the Okinawan dialect, Zan means dugong. Annual research by The Nature Conservation Society since 2009 has found evidence of dugong habitats at three to 14 locations. There is extensive evidence that endangered dugongs inhabit waters close to the planned relocation site in Oura Bay of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Prior to this, Japanese dugongs were thought to be extinct throughout Japan.
Due to these discoveries, Suzuki assumed the dugong would be protected by the Ministry of Environment but no such environmental protection measures were ever implemented. Outraged, she raised this issue with the Ministry of Environment and other NGOs but was condescendingly told, 'ordinary middle-aged women like her should not be involved in these issues.'
In 1999, she built a network of researchers, students and citizens through the group 'Watching Club of Northern Limit Dugongs'. In 2000, the group held the first symposium about wild dugongs in Kyoto, Tokyo and Okinawa. She connected two local protection groups with Dr. Helene March, the world famous researcher on dugong protection.
After World War 2, with severe food shortages, people ate dugong meat, furthermore many were killed inadvertently through dynamite fishing and by-catch. Now, dugongs are only able to live in the northern part of the Okinawa island where their feeding grounds are still intact. Suzuki wants to see the dugong protected fully.

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Object Name
Ian Teh
Henoko, Okinawa
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5000 x 3333 pixels
42.33 x 28.22 cm (300 dpi)
16.67 x 11.11 inch (300 dpi)
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