Japan: Growing turtle population poses risk to flight operations at Narita Airport

The growing turtle population on the grounds of Narita Airport, near Tokyo, poses risks to flight operations.

In September, one of the airport’s two runways was temporarily shut down after a large turtle was spotted trudging along it.

Airport officials believe that the turtle was a red-eared slider, a non-native species with a high reproductive ability.

Officials said it may have come from a rainwater reservoir adjacent to the runway. There was no barrier between the pond and the runway.

Aviation expert said measures need to be taken as soon as possible to keep turtles off runways. Since turtles have hard shells, they could be more dangerous for aircraft engines and other parts than bird strikes.