|How we started
"The Association to Protect Northernmost Dugong" was founded by scientists and citizens to protect the dugongs of Okinawa.
Formerly a familiar part of life in Okinawa, the dugong was drastically affected by post-war over-hunting and development, and at one time was believed to be extinct.
It is ironic that it was the proposal to build a military base that brought a spotlight to bear on Henoko,Okinawa, their last refuge. Local reports of dugong led to confirmation by the media in 1998.
Though local conservation work was started it failed to reach the attention of the mainland media and large conservation groups.
While protected internationally and listed as a designated natural treasure domestically, there exists no effective protection program. We fear the dugong will repeat the disaster of the "Toki"(Japanese crested ibis, Nipponia nippon), which was treated as a pest species.
This Association was formed in November 1999, when various groups concerned about the revision of the Wildlife Protection Act decided that the dugong problem could no longer be left unanswered.
In April 2000, the first international conference on dugong in Japan marked the start of our campaign.