Endangered Species

Rare Species You Can Encounter on Iriomote Island

Crested serpent eagle

Designated for protection as a special natural monument by the Japanese government
The act for the conservation  Endangered species of wild flora and fauna of Japan

In Japan, the eagle has been confirmed to breed on Iriomote and Ishigaki islands.

Sakishima-habukazura vine (Rhaphidophora korthalsii Schott) 

The act for the conservation  Endangered species of wild flora and fauna of Japan
Designated for protection by Taketomi Town

In Japan, this evergreen climbing plant grows wild on Iriomote and Ishigaki islands, which are the northern distribution limit of this species.

Yellow-margined box turtle  (Cuora flavomarginata evelynae

Designated for protection as a natural monument by the Japanese government

In Japan, it is native to Iriomote and Ishigaki islands, but some of them that have been moved by humans have been found on other islands, outside their natural habitat and threatening other native species as a domestic-origin invasive species.

Taiwan-ebine orchid (Calanthe formosana

Flora designated for protection in national parks
Designated for protection by Taketomi Town

This orchid grows wild at higher altitudes of the island and blooms around October.

Terrestrial hermit crabs

Designated for protection as a natural monument by the Japanese government

Six kinds of terrestrial hermit crab are designated as natural monuments. Spiral shells on the beach are frequently salvaged by them.

Atlas moth

Designated for protection as a natural monument by Okinawa Prefecture

Japan’s largest moth species. Examples of this moth in its adult form can be seen throughout the year on Iriomote Island and can be found everywhere, from the villages to the mountains.

* These are only a few of the many rare species found on the island. Please contact relevant organizations about other species.

Legislation to Protect Wildlife

Act for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna

This is a law to preserve endangered wildlife in Japan and abroad. In principle it prohibits the capture, import, export, transfer, etc. of endangered wildlife.

Act for the Protection of Cultural Properties (Natural Monuments)

This is a law to protect domestic cultural assets. As alteration of the current status is not permitted, the capture, transfer, etc. of flora and fauna designated as natural monuments is forbidden.

Taketomi Town Nature-Conservation Ordinance

This is a by-law to protect animals and plants that inhabit Taketomi Town. In principle, the capture, transfer, etc. of designated species is forbidden.

Wildlife Protection and Hunting Management Law

Prohibits the capture, etc. of wild mammals and birds.

Natural Parks Act

In Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park (Special Protection Zone and Special Zone) the removal of designated animal and plant species is forbidden.

Act Concerning Utilization of National Forest Land

The capture or removal of animals and plants is restricted in the Iriomote Island Forest-ecosystem Reserve.

What You Can Do

Drive slowly

Rare creatures are frequently killed by vehicles on the road. When driving on Iriomote Island, please be mindful of both people and wildlife.

Stay on designated tracks when walking in the forest

The forest is a habitat for wildlife. When you venture into wild areas follow the rules and do not leave designated trails.

Do not release alien species or pets!

The introduction of alien species and pets threatens the lives of endangered native creatures that have lived here since ancient times. Please be responsible and take care of pet animals for their entire life.

Do not remove or take anything home!

Please do not capture or remove rare species. You may be subject to punishment for breaking the law.

Do not use strong light unless it’s necessary

The forest should be a place where creatures can live in peace. A strong flash of light will momentarily blind them and may affect the lives of these creatures.

Do not move creatures from their original location

You may think something looks as though it belongs to a particular species, but you may be wrong. Do not move creatures from the location where you find them.

Initiatives on Iriomote Island

The Environment Ministry creates pamphlets to raise public awareness with the aim of preventing poaching and theft of rare species. These printed materials are available at such places as ports and the starting points of mountain trails and are distributed with the cooperation of various organizations.