Japan’s Environment Ministry is considering removing the goshawk from the list of threatened and endangered species of wild fauna and flora in the country. The species in the list are protected by Japan’s law on conservation of endangered species, and the move to remove the goshawk – which once was a threatened species – is a reflection of the avian species’ steady recovery and increase in its population.
This plan was revealed by government sources on Monday, as the ministry plans to hold a meeting of a subcommittee of the Central Environment Council on Wednesday to start the discussions of experts on the issue of the goshawk species. The ministry will hope to make a decision by the end of March 2014 at the earliest. Under Japan’s laws of conservation, hunting, capture and/or trading in species on the list is strictly illegal. And even if the goshawk is removed from the rare species list, capture of the birds would continue to be illegal under a separate Japanese law for wildlife protection.
An initial private survey in 1984 showed that the goshawk population in Japan stood at only 300 to 489. This decrease in population was caused by the loss of nesting areas, due partly to housing development. The species was put on the endangered list upon the passing of the conservation law in 1993. Conservation efforts for the goshawk followed, and a survey by experts in 2008 found 5,818 goshawks in the Kanto region, including Tokyo, and nearby areas. “It’s becoming clear that the goshawk population is recovering steadily,” a ministry official said. There was already a hint of this in 2006, when the ministry transferred the goshawk from the “vulnerable” category – species facing a very high risk of extinction – to the “near threatened” category for species facing difficulty in maintaining a viable population.