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Endangered Eastern Marsh Harrier Under Threat from Wind Power Expansion in Hokkaido

The rising construction of wind turbines threatens the nesting sites of the endangered eastern marsh harrier, or chuhi, in the grasslands of northern Hokkaido.



The Eastern marsh harrier is on the brink of extinction (Photo courtesy of the Wild Bird Society of Japan)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - Endangered Eastern Marsh Harrier Under Threat from Wind Power Expansion in Hokkaido

The eastern marsh harrier is a bird of prey and the apex predator of wetland and grassland ecosystems. Called chuhi in Japanese, the species is now threatened with extinction. Major factors in this trend include changes in the natural environment and encroachment on the birds' nesting areas by development activities. 

As Japan works to decarbonize, renewable energy projects are flocking to northern Hokkaido. Concerns are rising that these projects pose risks for the chuhi's largest breeding area in the country.

80% in Hokkaido 

The Sarobetsu coastal plain encompasses Hokkaido's northernmost cities of Wakkanai, Toyotomi, and Horonobe. Its vast landscape spans 20,000 to 24,000 hectares. At the heart of this wilderness lies a 6,700-hectare marshland, the third largest in the country. The area serves as an important breeding ground for migratory birds.

During spring and autumn, tens of thousands of migratory birds of various kinds can be seen gracefully flying in v-shaped formations across the sky. The chuhi are among them. However, the Ministry of the Environment added the bird to Japan's Red List under the Endangered IB category in 2006 due to dwindling numbers.

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth to learn more about how wind turbines are affecting the nesting sites and migratory routes of birds.

And find more great articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs on our affiliated website Japan 2 Earth (J2E), sparking a transition to a sustainable future.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Takahiro Sakamoto