Known as migratory birds travelling between Australia and Japan, Little Terns(Sterna albifrons) are facing extinction. Every spring, 300 to 500 birds migrate to one of Japan's largest surviving colonies located in Atsugi, Kanagawa.
This colony is now seriously threatened by roadworks planned for the area.

Please request Environment Australia to investigate the colony through the embassy to Tokyo

Let's look at the area of environment degradation from human activities

Under the banner of easing traffic congestion, Atsugi City plans to
construct a 2.5 km long road which will pass within just 200 metres of the Tern colony. In reply to my question at the Atsugi City Council meeting in June, 1999, it was revealed that forecasts for traffic
alleviation after completion of the project were vague and unclear. If this road should go ahead, it is inevitable that illegal dumping of old cars and refrigerators will run rampant, while plastic bags,

empty cans,bottles and other refuse, thrown from vehicles will adversely affect the surrounding area.
Amateur photographers and birdwatchers converge on this colony from all over the country, sleeping in their cars and carelessly discarding rubbish which attracts crows and stray cats and dogs. It is only a matter of time before these ill-affects on the colony are irreparable.

As can be expected, these planned roadworks are a source of heated debate inside the Atsugi City Council. Even though some 714 local residents have submitted a petition opposing the roadworks, it is a fact that the vast majority of councillors support the project. It is only due to the concerted efforts of caring residents that a final decision on the future of the roadworks, and in turn, the fate of the Little Tern colony has been postponed. However, with the Council meeting set for 18 June, 2001, a final decision must be reached.

So that we may protect the Little Tern colony, please write your views and mail them to the following addresses. It is the only form of bargaining power we have left. Your letter may help save the Little Terns.

Mr. Iwao Yamaguchi
Mayor of Atsugi City
Atsugi City Hall
3-17-17 Nakacho, Atsugi-shi,
Kanagawa-ken, 243-8511 Japan

IMPORTANT: Please request the Australian Embassy to investigate the Atsugi colony. Please also forward me your message for my knowledge. Thank you for your assistance.

Concrete threatens little tern 2 June,2001 The Age
Devastating turn of events as battling little birds' haven threatened
2 June,2001 The Sydney Morning Herald
The Australian Minister to Tokyo came to Atsugi in February, 2000
Wild Birdcam,Florida USA links this page from its top page
A Canadian site Birding Hotspot Around the World links this page
A Russian NGO translated into Russian

Since 31 May, 2002

first upload:15 May,2000
last update:31 May,2002