Blackston's fish owl, known as shimafukurô, or "island owl" in Japanese, is an endangered owl native to northern Japan and the Kuril and Sakhalin Islands. Whereas most owls eat mice, voles, and other small rodents, Blackston's fish owl, as its English name suggests, subsists on freshwater fish found in the fast moving rivers and icy lakes of Hokkaido and other northern islands. One of the largest owls in the world, a full-grown Blackston's fish owl is a magnificent 1.8 meters with its wings fully extended.
Blackston's fish owl makes its home in old-growth coniferous forests, and today is on the verge of extinction due to rapid habitat destruction. Today an estimated 125 Blackston's fish owls live on the far northeastern tip of Hokkaido, as well as the Kurils and Sakhalin Island. Resusitative breeding programs are underway in Japanese zoos, but the owl is proving difficult to breed, and with its habitat continuing to be reduced, its future looks grim.