Written by Staff Writer
CNN Staff Writer
Japan and South Korea, two countries without nearby natural or terrestrial wildlife, seem to have found common ground with wild species.
Published on February 3, 2019, this story first appeared in the March issue of CNN International’s Asia Travel Guide.
In the country’s northeast, habitats along the two countries’ exclusive set of jetties are fertile ground for elephant seals.
And close to the southern megacity of Busan, blue whale were spotted off the coast of Chonbuk Island last month.
Petted and educated by their captors, the huge mammals can grow up to 50 meters (164 feet) long and weigh up to 800 kilograms (1,664 pounds).
Taken closer to shore, they can take three years to raise and reach sexual maturity.
For some, animals are indeed more captivating than foreigners.
Omura Island is hosting a photography exhibition. Courtesy MTA Imagegarage/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Photographer Anna Nonna Nasta, 22, recently went north and photographed Chonbuk Island’s dolphins, but says the footage left her extremely cold.
“I saw about 200 dolphins swimming, their wings flapping and their white bodies appearing in an unpredictable pattern,” she says.
“It was the only time during the four days I was in the area that I felt cold because their warm bodies all the time. They got a lot of sun on the beach too.”
For more footage of dolphins in the area, check out the YouTube video below.
North turtle mama in Trupanion, Okinawa, Japan. Courtesy Izumi Sekikawa/Trupanion International
North Pacific sea turtles’ great migration highlights absence of humans in South Korea’s Pohang
In the western part of Okinawa, Japan, a mother sea turtle is releasing her eggs back into the ocean, while her offspring are out foraging.
These photos were taken on Trupanion Island by Izumi Sekikawa, 23, who calls himself a “photo journalist,” and another volunteer photographer.
Located in the Tokuma River Delta — a section of the Southern Ryukyus island chain of Okinawa — Trupanion Island is home to many types of fish, coral and birds.
The island was recently featured in an art project with skateboarder Alex Puig and “Ask The Land” Instagram account.
Chonbuk Island’s whale. Courtesy MTA Imagegarage/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
In 2015, the area’s capital, Jinari Resort, opened a cinema showing intimate, B-movie-style scenes of local wildlife.
Though officially marketed as a “nature and cultural resort,” the interior is packed with anthropogenic scenery, hotels and sport facilities.
“You can visit Jinari before spending a little time in nature in the surroundings of Trupanion Island,” says Sekikawa.
“I also visited Puryas Rocks with my friends and made a lot of pictures with [national] park park staff, dolphins and sea turtles, and even took selfies with human friends.”
Dona IX/Lenzuriaka dolphin in Fuajima, South Africa. Courtesy Kaikai Matoba
“I made it for the same reason as I think more people should be shown how creatures on the big screen can appear very realistic and up close with you,” says Matoba, who used a GoPro to capture this footage from her home near Cape Town.
“It’s hard to see people in Japan or South Korea when they’re interacting with animals like that. This is an insight into their secret lives, too.”