• Kyodo


Nine rare Japanese “crocodile newts,” smuggled to Belgium last year after being illegally collected in Okinawa, were returned home Wednesday in Japan’s first case of inbound wildlife repatriation, the culmination of months of efforts by Japanese and Belgian conservationists.

After arriving in Naha, Okinawa, on Thursday, the newts will be taken to the Okinawa Zoo & Museum, where they will be exhibited to educate the public about the importance of conserving endangered species, according to Hidetoshi Ota, director-adviser and professor of Hyogo University’s Institute of Natural and Environmental Sciences, who spearheaded the repatriation.

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