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Deeply saddened by the loss of Prof. Tatsuichi Tsujii, ex-president of Wetlands International Japan


Ede, The Netherlands - Wetlands International is deeply saddened by the loss of Prof. Tatsuichi Tsujii, he was a much loved member of the international wetland community and an inspiration to so many. He was a former Supervisory Council member of Wetlands International and the president of Wetlands International Japan. Prof. Tatsuichi Tsujii passed away on the 15th of January at the age of 81.

Prof. Tatsuichi Tsujii was a dedicated leader of wetlands conservation for more than 50 years. He made numerous contributions to the conservation of wetlands in Japan, notably in the restoration and management of the famous Kushiro-shitsugen Ramsar Site in Hokkaido, as well as in the designation of some 20 other Ramsar Sites. Prof. Tsujii was involved in the establishment of the Kushiro International Wetland Centre in 1995 and was also the President of the Hokkaido Environment Foundation.

Internationally, Prof. Tsujii conducted collaborative research in wetlands and contributed to the management of globally significant wetlands such as Chilika Lake in India.

Throughout his career in academia with the Hokusei Gakuen University in Hokkaido, government and science, Prof. Tsujii adopted a holistic approach in his work, linking science to management and wise use as well as connecting conservation to heritage and cultural values. Putting his principles into practice, he was very active in training, encouraging research, raising awareness and involving stakeholders.

Prof. Tsujii was deeply interested in the traditions and cultures associated with wetlands and the use of their resources. In 2012, he co-edited a book on this subject in Japanese that will serve to raise awareness amongst the Japanese people about the close link between people and wetlands.

Last year, Dr. Tsujii was awarded the Wetland Conservation Award in the category of Science by the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP11), for his lifetime contribution to wetland science and conservation. He was instrumental in organizing Ramsar COP5 in Kushiro, Hokkaido (1993), as the first Ramsar COP in Asia – thus contributing in a major way to raising awareness of wetlands, the need for their wise use and of the Ramsar Convention in Japan and in Asia.

In Japanese, Dr. Tsujii was called by the name "sensei" which means master or teacher. He was a warm, gentle and kind individual. Tsujii-sensei will be greatly missed and will forever stay a pioneer and teacher to all wetland conservationists.

Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer

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