-By Shawn Miller, Okinawa, Japan: The Yanbaru forest is located in the northern part of Okinawa, Japan. It is a wildlife protection area that is filled with many rare and endangered species of plants and animals. Every day the wildlife in this area faces many threats. The main threats are habitat loss and, of course, the never-ending problem of invasive species. Yanbaru is an extensive area of mountain ranges and dense subtropical rainforest. The forest is filled with vast amounts of fresh water streams which support an abundance of life.
When the sun sets the night dwellers emerge and this is when the excitement begins! In my experience, one of the best ways to find nocturnal wildlife is to drive along the back roads on high alert. The roads have a water drainage ditch on both sides, which provide a home for a variety of frogs and snakes. The forest is filled with ground and tree dwelling pit vipers, so be careful! These featured images are only a sample of the beautiful biodiversity found in Okinawa, but more can be found here.