Wildlife Centers

Toki Forest Park

Learn about the reintroduction of Japanese crested ibises to the wild on Sado Island

Sado Island, off the coast of Niigata, Japan, was once home to a native population of toki—crested ibises that became extinct in the wild there in 1981. The Toki Forest Park is one of several places in Japan, China and Korea that breeds and raises ibises in captivity, with the goal of acclimating them to the wild and releasing them.

The crested ibis was once widespread in Japan and Northeast Asia, but overhunting in the 19th century and the use of pesticides in the latter half of the 20th century brought the bird to the brink of extinction. The last five wild Japanese crested ibises were captured in 1981. An artificial breeding program for Japanese-born crested ibises was carried out until 2003 but ended in failure when the last of the Japanese crested ibises became extinct that year.

However, artificial breeding efforts in 1999 with a pair of crested ibises donated by China proved fruitful. Since then, the breeding and rearing of crested ibises in Japan has progressed steadily at various breeding and rearing facilities, including Toki Forest Park. As of 2020, 398 birds have been released from captivity, and the total wild population on Sado Island is now more than 400, including those both bred and born in the wild.

Within the Toki Forest Park, visitors can stop by the Toki Museum and the Toki Fureai Plaza. A large cage that recreates the natural habitat of crested ibises at the Toki Fureai Plaza offers visitors a chance to see these birds up close in captivity. Here, visitors can observe the birds feeding and flying.

At the Toki Museum, visitors can learn about the conservation of the Japanese crested ibis through displays and audio-visual materials. You can see stuffed ibises and skeletal specimens and learn how crested ibises are bred and raised at the park. The museum provides a wealth of resources for learning about the extraordinary efforts taken to reintroduce wild crested ibises to Japan. Some exhibits have English explanations and some have QR codes for English and Chinese descriptions.

wildlife   visitor center  
Open 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Last entry: 4:30 p.m.)
Closed Every Monday between December and February (when a national holiday falls on Monday, the park is open that day, and closed the next day, Tuesday); the year-end and New Year (December 29 to January 3)
Admission Adults (high school students and older) 400 yen, children (elementary and junior high school students) 100 yen. The entire amount of the entrance fee is used for the efforts to return crested ibises to the wild.
Address 383-2 Niibo Nagaune, Sado, Niigata
Phone (+81) 0259-22-4123
Website https://www.city.sado.niigata.jp/site/tokinomori/ (JP)

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