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The Japanese Society of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Statement on Oil / Natural Gas Development Projects in Sakhalin, Russia
June 7, 2003

The Japanese Society of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Statement on Oil / Natural Gas Development Projects in Sakhalin, Russia

  We, the Japanese Society of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, have a grave concern over the devastating impacts that can be inflicted upon the wildlife species in Sakhalin and the surrounding area, by ongoing oil/natural gas development projects in Sakhalin, Russian Federation. Sakhalin Island has rich biodiversity, which includes many rare, or even endangered species. Steller's sea eagles, spoon-billed sandpipers, Nordmann's greenshanks are all listed on "the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." One of the major nesting grounds for these birds is the northeastern parts of Sakhalin, where the developments are in progress. These species are also identified in the Japan-Russia Migratory Bird Agreement that requires the parties to "make efforts to take appropriate measures to protect or restore the habitat of bird species [covered under the agreement]. (Article 6)." Okhotsk-Korean gray whales, which are categorized as an endangered species by the Mammalogical Society of Japan and Fisheries agency of Japan, feed in the development sections in the sea. We deeply concern that these already-threatened wildlife will be in even greater danger.

 If the decrease in wildlife species has been the consequence of current human activities, we, the humans have the responsibility to protect wildlife resources before our economic interests. Once it becomes extinct, the species can never be found on the entire earth again.

 Up until now, there has not been enough public access to the information related to the projects including the result of pre-development researches. We believe that the operating corporations, related governments and financing institutions must organize open and inclusive consultation meetings, with cooperation of specialists and NGOs. In addition to the ongoing Sakhalin I & II development projects, the consultations should also cover Sakhalin III through IX, which are similar development projects that are still in their planning phase. Through such meetings, past researches and the projects themselves are to be assessed, and appropriate measures must be taken immediately, which could require additional researches or change of project plans.

Mitsuko Masui, President
The Japanese Society of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Theriogenology Course, Department of Veterinary Medicine,
Faculty of Agriculture
1-1 Yanato, Gifu-shi, Gifu 501-1193, Japan

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