100th Stork Marks Hopeful End to Extinction of the Species in Japan
The stork population in Japan is now 100 birds away from extinction, as recently confirmed by an official at the Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork. Located in Toyooka City in western Japan, the conservation facility has been artificially breeding storks in captivity and releasing them into the open skies for more than a decade already.
The oriental white stork has been labeled a special national treasure in the East Asian country, with magnanimous efforts from conservationists to restore the species into the wild.
Aside from confirming that this 100th artificially bred male stork chick has freely flown away into the wild last Monday morning, staff members at the facility also claim that natural breeding has been occurring in the wild as early as year 2007, only two years after they began artificial breeding.
Chief of the conservation facility Satoshi Yamagishi joyfully refers to a Japanese mythical tale about the storks’ ability to deliver happiness, saying: “I couldn’t be happier and hopefully they will continue flying in the skies all over the country and make other people happy too.”
The story of the oriental white stork’s extinction roots back to 1971, when the very last stork died in protective captivity. Apparently, storks suffered the negative environmental consequences to Japan’s booming economy at the time.
Not insensitive to this undesirable collateral damage of economic development, the Japanese government faithfully attempted to reestablish the stork population in the country. After six chicks were given by the Russia in 1985, Japan started to breed the storks in protective captivity. They began releasing offspring 20 years later, in 2005.
The stork population figures are monitored by the conservation facility by gathering information across Japan, adjusting the numbers accordingly, as soon as a stork goes missing or confirmed dead and once a new batch is released into the wild. Japan has 47 prefectures, and there have been sighting confirmations of the treasured oriental white storks in 46 of said prefectures.
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