Biodiversity / Food / Water

May 21, 2005


Swans to Mogami River Park Increase Dramatically in 38 Years

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity NGO / Citizen 

As many as 11,950 swans flew over to the Mogami River Swan Park and its neighborhood in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, according to a survey report released on January 18, 2005. The survey was conducted by a local group of swan lovers on January 14 and 15. Wild swans migrate from Siberia to the park in autumn and return in spring.

In 1967, the number of swans that migrated to the park was only seven. The number, however, has been gradually increasing as a result of residents' efforts such as feeding swans and improving the management of sandbars in the Mogami River, their habitat. In 2004, the Swan Park set a record of having the largest number of migratory swans in Japan. There is a high possibility that the park will achieve the same result in 2005.

The group is a nonprofit organization established in 1967 with a view to providing elementary and junior high school students with opportunities to cultivate aesthetic sentiments through feeding and observing swans in winter. It is managed by local volunteers.

The group operates the park, where it built observation cabins for visitors. It also provides the visitors with feed, which is mainly made up of immature and broken rice donated by local farmers in the Shonai Plain. With the increasing popularity of feeding wild swans by hand, a growing number of visitors are arriving, not only from throughout Japan but also from South Korea and China.

Posted: 2005/05/21 09:44:07 PM
Japanese version