Kushiro International Wetland Centre is an organisation associated by central/local governments, education boards, universities, NGOs and specialists.
Funding support: Local governments: Kushiro City, Kushiro Town, Shibecha Town, Tsurui Village, Akkeshi Town and Hamanaka Town
Number of staff: 6
Overall aims of the centre
The aim of our organisation is as follows:
1. Promoting conservation and wise use of wetland locally and globally
2. International cooperation on wetland conservation
3. Raising awareness of wetland conservation
Description of the centre
Our centre is especially concerning 4 Ramsar sites in eastern Hokkaido:
1. Kushiro shitsugen (in Kushiro city, Kushiro town, Shibecha town and Tsurui village)
Type: moor, freshwater lake/marsh and river
The wetland is Japan’s largest wetland(22,070 ha) and the first Ramsar site(7,863ha). It was also designated as Kushiro shitsugen National Park(26,861ha).
2. Lake Akkeshi-ko /Bekambeushi shitsugen (in Akkeshi town)
Type: brakish lake, moor and river
Lake Akkeshi connects to the Pacific Ocean. It is a well-known stopping and wintering spot for Whooper swan(Cygnus cygnus) of over 10,000 individuals per year.
The Bekanbeushi Wetland is spread along the Bekanbeushi River and its tributaries. The whole area of the site covers about 8,300 ha.
3. Kiritappu shitsugen(in Hamanaka town)
Type: moor, river and brackish lake
It extends along the coast of Pacific Ocean, and with the length of 9km, width of 3-4km,with 5 rivers it has more than 30 ponds. 2,504ha of the area was designated as a Ramsar site. The wetland is famous for its variety of flowers such as Daylily(Hemerocallis middendorffii).
Those three sites are the important habitats of Red-crowned crane(grus japonensis), the Japanese special Natural Monument.
4. Lake Akan-ko(in Kushiro city)
Type: freshwater lake
It is a caldera lake with a circumference of 25.9km(area of 1,318ha), nestled between two volcanoes and surrounded by deep woods, inhabited by variety of wildlife including Blakistons fish owl(Ketupa blakistoni) which is globally endangered species.
The ball-shaped algae called Marimo(Aegagropila linnaei) is designated as a special natural monument of Japan. Such a large marimo spheres is found nowhere on the earth.
The office of the centre is functioned and located in the downtown, but information on wetlands and the activities can be offered to visitors at some local facilities in our member’s districts
Main CEPA work areas
1. Events of symposium, exhibition and lecture about wetlands, etc.
2. Eco-tours and surveys in the wetlands in our area.
Top three successes
1.Collaborative activities with central/local governments, NGOs and local specialists to organized symposiums, exhibitions and surveys:
Due to our organizational structure, we can use many opportunities to work and share information with each other.
2. Training courses and workshops on wetland conservation and wise use for developing countries:
Kushiro area is known globally as an advanced region of wetland conservation and ecotourism after we hosted as the venue of Ramsar COP5.
3. Wetland watching tour for local people for a promotion of WWD:
Abundance of nature and human resources which are available to organize guide tour or other CEPA activities in wetlands.
Top three challenges
1. Database construction:
Deficiency of finance, human resources and space.
2. Collaborative activities with wetlands of overseas countries:
Difficulties to accumulate information. differences of social condition and deficiency of finance. However, we started to build a relationship with some overseas wetlands concerning CEPA and techniques for wetland conservation and wise use.
3. Publicity work especially focusing on local community:
It is very hard to be noticed of the centre's name among the local people even we offered them the opportunities to enjoy the activities. It is necessary to introduce them our organization at every opportunity.