Grand Design for Reintroduction of the Oriental White Stork

In 2011, the Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork drew up Grand Design for Reintroduction of the Oriental White Stork. Based on this design, we have since pursued a project to reintroduce the storks into the wild. The Grand Design’s Preface and Table of Contents are shown below. For details, see the PDF file..

It has now become widely known both within this country and abroad that Hyogo Prefectural Government has been pursuing a project to re-introduce Oriental White Stork Ciconia boyciana in Toyooka City.
Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork (HPOWS) started experimental release of the Oriental White Stork (OWS) in 2005 based on the “Oriental White Stork Reintroduction Promotion Plan” (hereinafter referred to as “Promotion Plan”) adopted in March 2003. The released storks established themselves out in the fields, and a successful breeding in 2007 produced the fledgling.
Successful breeding is continuing and the size of the OWS population out in the fields (hereinafter referred to as “managed population” because it is helped by artificial feeding as described later) has reached 39 at the end of 2010.
The term “reintroduction” used here includes both “reintroduction” of species once extinct from the wild and “re-establishment” of a population3.
The last wild population of Japanese OWS that inhabited Tajima District including Toyooka City became extinct in 1971. Although a strain of domestic population was captured there before extinction and attempts of captive breeding continued for about 20 years, they also became extinct without producing any offspring.
The success was brought about in 1989 by a pair of storks transferred from Russia (formally the Soviet Union), and since then the size of the captive population grew over 100. This led to the commencement of experimental release in 2005.
The experimental release was conducted based on the Promotion Plan described above. This plan states its basic strategy consisting of 1) maintenance/advancement of genetic diversity, 2) improvement of environment which supply storks their preferable habitat, 3) coordination of relevant organizations, 4) promotion of education for local people, and 5) employment of the method of adaptive management. It was determined also that science and practice on reintroduction should be done after the experimental release.
Owing to the objectives of reintroduction and based on the history of OWS in Japan, this Grand Design reviews the outcomes of science and/or academic studies on the stork reintroduction during these 5 years, and presents the short- term and mid-term targets that are indispensable to the achievement of a full- edged reintroduction. The ultimate goal of the stork reintroduction is also given here. It can be positioned as an advanced example of the IUCN Guide- lines for Re-introduction (IUCN 1998) published in 1995.
This Grand Design is a product mainly of the scientific / academic studies done by HPOWS, and I hope it to be reflected in OWS reintroduction projects in other cities and towns that are in cooperative relationship with HPOWS.
In the process of drawing up this Grand Design “The Oriental White Stork Reintroduction Measures Commit- tee” consisting of academic experts made deliberations in a series of meetings. We are grateful to the members of the committee that provided valuable comments from the viewpoint of their expertise as well as all other persons involved.
Satoshi Yamagishi Director, Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork


  1. Preface
  2. The objective of the Oriental White Stork Reintroduction
    1. Significance of reintroduction
    2. Significance of introduction into the human living environment
  3. History of the Oriental White Stork (from extinction to protection and reintroduction)
    1. Former inhabitation
    2. From extinction to protection
    3. Conservation of species
    4. Towards reintroduction
  4. Inhabitation and extinction in Toyooka region
    1. Former environment
    2. Changes of environment in 1960–70s and reasons of extinction
  5. Research outcomes obtained during the experimental release period
    1. Release to breeding
    2. Fledging and formation of the “managed population” out in the fields
    3. Social Structure of the Oriental White Stork
    4. Analysis of nesting site
    5. Changes in the perception of local people in Toyooka
    6. Points of attention for reintroduction based on the outcomes of the experimental release
  6. Required conditions and past efforts for successful reintroduction
    1. Required conditions for inhabitation of OWS
    2. Past efforts towards reintroduction
  7. Target Setting
    1. Short-term Target “Establishment of a stable and genuinely wild population and its management”
    2. Mid-term Target “Establishment of a domestic meta- population structure of storks”
  8. Goal of Reintroduction
  9. Concluding Remarks
  10. Appendices