Poaching has been a big problem in northern Okinawa. The endemic animals of the Yanbaru forest are highly valued in the exotic pet trade market. The Okinawan Ministry of the Environment and the wildlife protection center are working hard this year to prevent the poaching of these endangered species. The Okinawan’s are spreading the word in the news, local papers, flyers and even monitoring the forest roads at night.
Poaching flyer -Yanbaru
August through September is when people search the forest for the rare Yanbaru long-armed scarab beetle (Cheirotonus jambar). If you see anyone taking this protected species please contact the authorities. I have yet to photograph a live animal. It is one of the rarest beetles in the world.
Rarest beetle in Japan -Yanbaru long armed scarab beetle, wildlife center
The giant Okinawan stag beetle (Dorcus titanus okinawanus) is also a high prized specimen in the pet trade.
Giant okinawan stag beetles
Giant okinawan stag beetle
Beetle collectors use fruit filled net traps to lure in the beetles.
Yanbaru beetle trap (Dorcus titanus okinawanus)
The beetles hooked shaped arms get caught in the netting.
Giant stag beetle (Dorcus titanus okinawanus)
Over the years, I have found a few traps with dead beetles attached.
Female okinawan stag beetle
Beetle collecting is popular in Okinawa. Its important to be familiar with the specific beetles that are protected species. Let’s protect the wildlife of the Yanbaru forest for future generations.