Ryukyu ken – Dogs of Okinawa by Shawn Miller

Ryukyu-ken is scarce breed of dog found on the Island of Okinawa. In the past, these dogs were used to hunt down wild boars in the Yanbaru forest. They are currently designated as an Okinawan national treasure. I have personally seen these dogs hunt wild birds and they have no problems catching them. The Ryukyu ken has a great sense of smell. They can smell their pray from far away. These smart dogs are outstanding hunters.

Ryukyu Ken - Kin Okinawa

Ryukyu Ken - © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu-ken

Ryukyu-ken © Shawn Miller

Its impressive that these dogs hunt such a large powerful animal. Ryukyu wild boar (Sus scrofa).

Ryukyu wild boar (sus scrofa) This is a common wild boar found in Okinawa,

Ryukyu wild boar (sus scrofa) © Shawn Miller

I was out searching for birds and saw this beautiful male Ryukyu Inu. I knew he was out on a hunting mission.  It was just a matter of being at the right place at the right time.

Ryukyu Enu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu Enu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu native dog ready for the hunt © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog

Ryukyu Inu -Okinawan native dog © Shawn Miller

I often would see the Master walking his dogs on the beach and one day I finally asked him if I could photograph him and his dogs.

Master and his Ryukyu Ken

Master and his Ryukyu Ken © Shawn Miller

Master walking his Ryukyu Dogs

Master walking his Ryukyu Dogs © Shawn Miller

I often find some of the most interesting dogs on my photographic adventures exploring the Island. I try to capture their unique personality.  Below are some of my favorite dogs.

Okinawan dog

Okinawan dog © Shawn Miller

Ryukyu guard dog

Ryukyu guard dog © Shawn Miller

Okinawan dog - Ogimi Village

Okinawan dog © Shawn Miller

Okinawa dog - chained up

Okinawa dog – chained up © Shawn Miller

Poochie the wonder dog

Poochie the wonder dog © Shawn Miller

Dogs of Okinawa

Dogs of Okinawa © Shawn Miller

Dogs of oKinawa

Dogs of OKinawa © Shawn Miller

Sometimes on my adventures I run into aggressive dogs.  They are just protecting their territory.  I respect their space and leave the scene.

Okinawan dog

Okinawan dog © Shawn Miller

Dogs of Okinawa

Dogs of Okinawa © Shawn Miller

Dogs of Okinawa

Dogs of Okinawa © Shawn Miller

Dogs of Okinawa

Dogs of Okinawa © Shawn Miller

Sometimes I run into kind photogenic dogs that love their photograph taken.

Shima  -Ryukyu dog

Shima -Ryukyu dog © Shawn Miller

Cheetah like speed

Cheetah like speed © Shawn Miller

Okinawan dog with style

Okinawan dog with style © Shawn Miller

Dogs of Okinawa

Dogs of Okinawa © Shawn Miller

Scuba dog -Maeda point

Scuba dog -Maeda point © Shawn Miller

Bear and Master Willson

Bear and Master Willson © Shawn Miller

Have a great day!

 

The Good, the Bad or the Evil – The Crow’s of Okinawa

The Jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) is found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. They are abundant here and can be found all over Okinawa. Populations have increased due to the readily available food, left on the side of the road and in dumpsters. Its important to keep your trash enclosed in cages to prevent the crows from getting to it.

  • Scientific name: Corvus macrorhynchos
  • Local name: Jungle crow
  • Distribution:  Ryukyu Islands
  • Habitat:  Farms,cities ,forests and grasslands.
  • Diet:  Eats almost everything
  • Average size:  50cm  body length 
  • Color:  Black
Jungle crow and plastic

Jungle crow and plastic

Jungle crow -Okinawa Japan

Jungle crow -Okinawa Japan

The farmers in Onna village put up this deterant to keep the crows from coming back.

Crow cross -Onna village

Crow cross -Onna village

Crows can be viscous predators. They often harass other birds, showing off their strength.

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These intelligent birds work as a team to get what they want. I have personally seen them raid baby birds from the nest. I have seen them fly away with juvenile woodpeckers, rails and swallows.

Crow taking the okinawa woodpecker from the nest

Crow taking the okinawa woodpecker from the nest

To control the population of jungle crows in northern Okinawa, they use large traps to catch them in. One way in and no way out !

Crow trap - Northern Okinawa

Crow trap – Northern Okinawa

Possibly a strange growth that occurred from an injury (broken beak). Could this be one of the few crows that made a successful escape from a trap.

A crow with a hook beak

A crow with a extended hook beak

As much as we dislike the crow, they do have a purpose in the ecosystem. They clean the dead animals (road kill) off the road, keeping our environment clean from rotting carcasses. I often see them feeding on cats, snakes, lizards, birds and rats dead in the road.

Mongoose -roadkill

Mongoose -roadkill

Crow feeding on a cat

Crow feeding on a cat by Shawn Miller

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Crows eating roadkill -Okinawa

They also feed on the large green caterpillars that destroy the farmers taro (Taanmu) crops in Kin village

Crows of Okinawa

Crows of Okinawa -The Regulators

Have a great day!