Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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140o 18.00' East 30o 29.00' North
0 - 400m
Year of IBA assessment
Wild Bird Society of Japan
Site description Torishima is an uninhabited islet of 453 ha with an active volcano, which is located about 600 km south of Tokyo metropolitan area, and this also belongs to the Tokyo administrative district. Its soil consists of basalt and andesite. It has few trees, but has grasses and bare ground can be seen. Torishima islet was once the largest breeding site in the world for Short-tailed Albatross. In 1887 feather traders landed on the islet, then their excessive hunting of Short-tailed Albatross and Black-footed Albatross began. Until the hunting was prohibited in 1933, about 200,000 albatrosses were killed in a certain year and totally 5,000,000 albatrosses were estimated to be killed at least. It was reported in 1949 that Short-tailed Albatross had become extinct. However since a small number of them were rediscovered in 1951, they have been carefully protected and designated as a National Natural Monument, an Internationally-protected Bird, and a National Special Natural Monument. In 1965, when volcanic activities became active, Torishima became an uninhabited islet. The observation of albatrosses in 1973 led to the restart of the successive protection projects for Short-tailed Albatross, raising the breeding success ratio of chicks and forming another new colony. As a result, the population of Short-tailed Albatross was increased from about 500 in 1992, to about 1,000 in 1999 and about 1,900 in 2006. Estimated population in 2008 was about 2,140. For fear of possible volcanic eruptions, a big project of moving a part of Short-tailed Albatross' chicks on Torishima to Mukojima islet of Ogasawarashoto islands, and forming a new breeding site started in February, 2008 with international cooperation. The project is going on fairly as expected.