Tashirojima: 'Cat Island' Safe After Tsunami
Tashirojima: Cat Island Survives Japan Tsunami
Cat lovers pondered the fate of Tashirojima (Cat Island), famous for its huge feline population. Apparently Tashirojima was totally submerged by the tsunami, but, according to lovemeow, most of Cat Island's human and feline inhabitants survived the deluge.
Boats are unable to ferry supplies to Tashirojima, so transport by helicopter must be arranged. (Tashirojima map)
The Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support posted this message to their Facebook page:
"Just to give everyone an update on Tashirojima, the cat island. The people and cats are safe but short of food. A volunteer looked into transporting food by boat, but the is too much debris in the water. A helicopter is the only way. The army will probably get a helicopter ready soon so we are looking into the possibility of asking them to take cat food too."
Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is a coalition formed by HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata and Japan Cat Network.
How Tashirojima Became Cat Island
Tashirojima's small population of fishermen believed that cats would bring good luck in the form of big catches, so cats were nurtured and any animal that was anti-cat (for example... dogs) were unwelcome. Tashirojima's population has been dwindling, as people either retire or move to the mainland. Most visitors to Cat Island are tourists, rather than those keen on keeping up the island's fishing tradition.
The damage done to Tashirojima will be devastating, and will require volunteers from the mainland just to get the tiny island in the position to restart its economy.
Below you can find some footage of Cat Island before the tsunami, just to get an idea of what it's like.
(Amy Judd, this one's for you!)