Junior Cormorant's First SwimUnder Gaze of Cormorant Fishers at Uji River, Kyoto Prefecture7 September 2014 - Tradition/Culture
On September 6, Japan's first artificially-incubated Japanese young cormorant for traditional cormorant fishing on the Uji River entered the river in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture for the first time. With occasional splashes, the cormorant swan smoothly on the surface of the river. Three cormorant fishers warmly watched over its "leaving the nest" as its foster parents.
Born on June 29, the cormorant was 70 days old that day. Weighing 1850 grams, a more than thirtyfold increase in weight, it had fully fledged sharing the same appearance as adult birds.
The cormorant fishers took turns while rearing the bird in a room at the city's tourism center beside the Uji River. From late-August, they took it to the river to accustom it to water. On that day, the young cormorant timidly took to the water from the riverbank. For about 15 minutes it was swimming and diving within the reach of its 3-meter leash.
As the great cormorant, which is similar to the Japanese cormorant, fledges reportedly at 50 to 60 days old, Uji City Tourist Association determined that their cormorant fledged on the day it entered the river. Mariko Sawaki, a cormorant fisher said, "Although it might not be good at swimming, it was not too bad for a first-timer. Now it's our turn to graduate from being its mother, and form and cultivate a fisher-and-cormorant relationship."
The young cormorant will be trained to fish, in hopes of it making its debut in cormorant fishing next summer.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)