Hokkaido, Japan
Hokkaido, Japan

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Teraoka H.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Teraoka H.,NPO Tancho Protection Group | Tagami Y.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Kudo M.,Rakuno Gakuen University | And 12 more authors.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology | Year: 2012

Red-crowned cranes (Grus japonensis) are native to eastern Hokkaido (island population), in contrast to the mainland, which migrates between the Amur River basin and eastern China-Korea peninsula. During the 1990s we found that Red-crowned cranes in Hokkaido were highly contaminated with mercury: however, the source was unknown. We investigated the time trend of mercury contamination in Red-crowned cranes. Total mercury levels in the livers and kidneys from cranes dead in the 2000s were lower than those dead in the 1990s. Feather is a major pathway of mercury excretion for many bird species and is used as an indicator of blood mercury level during feather growth. As internal organs from the specimens collected before 1988 were not available, we analyzed the flight feather shavings from stuffed Redcrowned cranes dead in 1959-1987 and found that the mercury level of feathers from cranes dead in the 1960s and 1970s was not more than those from the cranes dead in the 2000s. These results suggest that mercury contamination in Red-crowned cranes in Hokkaido decreased temporally during the 1990s-2000s. This indicates the possible occurrence of some mercury pollution in Red-crowned cranes' habitat in this region in the 1990s or before. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011.

Inoue M.,Kushiro Zoo | Inoue M.,NPO Tancho Protection Group | Shimura R.,Kushiro Zoo | Uebayashi A.,Kushiro Zoo | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Veterinary Medical Science | Year: 2013

Red-crowned (or Japanese) cranes Grus japonensis are native to eastern Hokkaido, Japan-the island population, and mainland Asia-the continental population that migrates from breeding grounds along the Amur River Basin to winter in east China and the Korean Peninsula. The island population was reduced to about 50-60 birds in early part of the 20th century. Since 1950s, the population has increased to more than 1,300 as a consequence of human-provided food in winter, resulted in change of their habitats and food resource. From the carcasses of 284 wild cranes from the island population, collected in Hokkaido since 1976 until 2010, we measured six physical parameters (body weight and lengths of body, wing, tarsus, tail and exposed culmen) and divided into groups by sex and three developmental stages (juvenile, yearling and adult). All parameters of males were larger than those of females at the same stage. Total body length of females tends to grow up earlier than males, in contrast to body weight. Obvious time trends were not observed in these all parameters during 34 years for these six categories measured, except total length of male juveniles, which showed a signifcant increasing trend. These results provide the first extensive data on body size and mass in the wild red-crowned cranes. © 2013 The Japanese Society of Veterinary Science..

Hiraga T.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Sakamoto H.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Nishikawa S.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Muneuchi I.,Rakuno Gakuen University | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Veterinary Medical Science | Year: 2014

Red-crowned cranes (Grus japonensis) are distributed separately in the east Eurasian Continent (continental population) and in Hokkaido, Japan (island population). The island population is sedentary in eastern Hokkaido and has increased from a very small number of cranes to over 1,300, thus giving rise to the problem of poor genetic diversity. While, Hooded cranes (Grus monacha), which migrate from the east Eurasian Continent and winter mainly in Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, are about eight-time larger than the island population of Red-crowned cranes. We collected whole bodies of these two species, found dead or moribund in eastern Hokkaido and in Izumi, and observed skeletons with focus on vertebral formula. Numbers of cervical vertebrae (Cs), thoracic vertebrae (Ts), vertebrae composing the synsacrum (Sa) and free coccygeal vertebrae (free Cos) in 22 Red-crowned cranes were 17 or 18, 9-11, 13 or 14 and 7 or 8, respectively. Total number of vertebrae was 47, 48 or 49, and the vertebral formula was divided into three types including 9 sub-types. Numbers of Cs, Ts, vertebrae composing the Sa and free Cos in 25 Hooded cranes were 17 or 18, 9 or 10, 12-14 and 6-8, respectively. Total number of vertebrae was 46, 47, 48 or 49, and the vertebral formula was divided into four types including 14 sub-types. Our findings clearly showed various numerical vertebral patterns in both crane species; however, these variations in the vertebral formula may be unrelated to the genetic diversity. © 2014 The Japanese Society of Veterinary Science.

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