The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Wild Bird Society of Japan

Conserving endangered eastern marsh harriers and wetland biodiversity

Activity grant

Project Description

Eastern marsh harriers are similar to hawks, and are at the top of the wetland food chains, particularly in reed bed ecosystems. They cover wide areas and prey on small animals. Populations in Japan have dwindled to around 50 breeding pairs due to factors such as the shrinking of reed bed areas as a result of land development, and it has been desginated as a category 1B endangered species on the Ministry of the Environment red list. In order to conserve the eastern marsh harrier, information collection from each region it inhabits was started in 2006, but there is a need for further research into its behaviour and habitats and to process the information collected. The first year of this project will involve attaching GPS tracking devices to marsh harriers that inhabit the Yufutsu plains in western Hokkaido, identifying their home-range and nests, surveying the environment in these areas, and researching the types of prey eaten, the amount of resources, and the breeding situation. It will also process and analyse information on the breeding situation of marsh harriers that have been gathering for many years at Kahokugata Lagoon in Ishikawa Prefecture. The results of research and analysis from these two areas will be published in a report. The second year will involve holding a symposium and inviting experts from the UK, a leading country for eastern marsh harrier conservation. This will allow Japanese researchers to deepen their knowledge of marsh harrier and wetland ecosystem conservation, compare the situations in the UK and Japan, and propose conservation measures that are suitable for Japan. Finally, an information pack will be published as the culmination of the entire project.

Preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2008 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
October 2008 - September 2011
Grant amount
13,700,000 yen
Activity region
The Yufutsu plains of eastern Tomakomai, Hokkaido, and Kahokugata Lagoon in the northern Kanazawa plains, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan
Observational research on eastern marsh harriers in Hokkaido's Yufutsu plains

Overview of the Organization

Hiroshi Yagyu, Chairman
Hiroshi Yagyu, Chairman
Establishment purpose
The Wild Bird Society of Japan was established to cultivate a respect for nature in people and contribute to the development of a humane society by creating opportunities to enjoy wild birds in their natural habitats, spreading scientific knowledge about these birds, and promoting practical conservationist ideals.
Main areas of activity
Shinagawa and Ota Wards, Hino, and Miyake, Tokyo; Nemuro, Tsurui, and Tomakomai, Hokkaido; Fukushima; Yokohama; Toyota; Kaga; Himeji; and Fukuoka, Japan
42 full-time staff members, 63 part-time staff members, and 44,000 full members
Annual operating budget
1.09 billion yen in 2005, 1.18 billion yen in 2006, 847.07 million yen in 2007
WEB site
Recent activities
  • (1) Protecting wild birds and nature: maintaining, managing, and expanding wild bird nature preserves; conserving IBA (Important Bird Areas) habitats; conserving endangered bird species such as eastern marsh harriers and crane species; etc.
  • (2) Communicating the importance of wild birds and nature: increasing the number of bird supporters through sanctuaries and the like, distributing and publicising introductory materials, selling handy-sized spotter's guides, publishing teacher's guides, etc.