Japan is set to remove goshawks from its scarce species list after a government subcommittee approved the move Wednesday following an increase in their population.
Goshawks, whose numbers were estimated at 9,000 in a survey conducted by the Environment Ministry at the turn of the century, are crow-size raptors that prey on small mammals and birds. The population had declined sharply due to urban development and other reasons.
Seiji Hayama of the bird society, said, “The habitat of goshawks varies by prefecture. Even if the state removes them from the scarce species list, prefectural governments should adopt ordinances to protect them.”
According to the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the number of goshawks stood at around 300 or 400 in 1984. But following the scarce species listing in 1993, the population started to recover amid conservation efforts such as preserving suitable forest habitats.
Even after goshawks are removed from the list, capturing, distributing, importing or exporting the birds will continue to be restricted for academic research purposes.
The bird of prey will be officially removed from the list, probably next month, after the Central Environment Council conveys the subcommittee’s decision to the environment minister on Thursday.
The ministry plans to monitor the habitat of the birds and will relist them if necessary.
Goshawks have been a symbol of the nation’s conservation movement.
The removal of the goshawks from the scarce species list would be the second instance based on population growth, following the removal of the purple jay in 2008, according to the ministry.