29 January, 2017

Antarctica expedition and sled dogs

In February 1957, the first Japanese Antarctica expedition team constructed
the research base " Showa station ", in which located at 69°00′ S 39°35′ E
in Antarctica. 

--------Below photos are excepts from the book(Yasukazu Kitamura:
           The first Antarctic team and Sakhalin Husky dogs. Kyoikusha. 
           in Japanese, 1982.)

Showa base
-------------------------------Antarctic expedition by dog sled.
----------------------------------Twenty two Sakhalin Husky dogs were joined.

---------- Thereafter, 11 men with 15 sled dogs (Sakhalin Husky) ,
one cat and two birds remained in Antarctica (February 1957-February 1958).
One year later, In February 1958, the second team went to the Antarctica base.
But the ship was unable to get close to the base. The ship was trapped in the ice
and was rescued by American Icebreaker ship. The first team were evacuated
by helicopter and 15 Sakhalin Husky dogs, which connected with chains, were
left in the base. Cancel the second winter.

After came back to Japan, the expedition team received a rush of criticism
for leaving the 15 dogs in the Antarctica base.

Eleven months later, In January 14th 1959, the third team arrived in the base.
Seven dogs were found in dead, at which were connected to the chains.
Eight dogs were removed chains and six dogs were missing.
    Surprisingly, Two dogs(Taro & Jiro) were live !

   Taro & Jiro and Yasukazu Kitamura

What they ate ? How they survived ? Prof. Kitamura discribed as follow;

1) Age of the dog: Taro and Jiro were the youngest among 15 dogs
--- ---(1~5 years old at the start of expedition). The 3~4 year old dogs
--- ---were the main force of sled.
2) Sakhalin dogs ate penguins. seabirds and fishes(trapped in the ice).
3) The store food for human and dog in base were intact.
4) Some Types of dogs have to cannibalism during the famine.
--------Seven dogs were found in dead with chains, while the bodies were intact.

1) Yasukazu Kitamura (born 1931. Professor Emeritus of Kyushu University,
---- joined in first & third mission), who was responsible for Aurora
-----observation and caretaker of sled dogs.

2) based on this story, In 2006, Walt Disney Pictures released the movie, 
------" Eight Below " → http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Below
-------movie clip → http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3eBOcWmZw4&feature=related

Any questions:
write to Keiji Hagiwara, keijihagiwara@gmail.com