• Kasama, Ibaraki

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Regarding the Aug. 20 article “Avian killing fields of lotus“: Thank you for this much needed coverage of birds that are being trapped around Lake Kasumigaura. I drive through the area on a weekly basis, and the sight of birds struggling in the nets is one I will never forget. Most of them hang by a wing, foot or their neck until their will to live is exhausted.

On many occasions I have put on waterproof clothing and entered the lotus paddies to free these poor creatures. In some cases the injuries are minor and the birds may make a full recovery. Unfortunately, such is not the fate of most, which will eventually die. It seems that the environment ministry should be held accountable for the protection of birds in Japan. I am at a loss to understand why the ministry has done nothing to protect the birds, especially in view of the fact that some of these birds are of rarer species and are not damaging the lotus.

Before any more tax money is spent to buy new nets of a smaller mesh, a complete assessment of the bird populations, lotus damage and alternative solutions needs to be carried out. In the meantime, the nets in place now should all be taken down. The farmers have been notified in the past that the nets should be let down on the sides so that the birds cannot enter from the sides. But I see no effort to comply with the request, nor do I see any attempt by the agency that issued the request to enforce it. How many more birds will share the fate of the Crested Ibis before the nets are taken down?

name withheld by request

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