Thursday, March 31, 2016

Birds for the Princess

This past winter I made a set of 3 native Japanese birds for Princess Takamado of the Japanese imperial family.  It was truly an honor for me because totally aside from the fact that she is royalty, the princess is a really impressive lady!  She is a professional nature photographer and writer, speaks fluent French and English and holds a PhD.  She also is a passionate wildlife conservationist, and by wildlife conservationist I mean she is currently the honorary president of Birdlife International!   Birdlife International is an umbrella organization encompassing the most important bird conservation organizations from around the world, such as the Audubon Society.

Princess Takamado specifically asked me to make 3 birds, a Japanese waxwing, a Bohemian waxwing and a Japanese crested ibis because they are some of her favorites and they are all native to Japan.  The Japanese crested ibis in particular is special to her because it has become a symbol for wildlife conservation in Japan.  They are one of the world's most rare and endangered ibis species and in fact went extinct in Japan in 2003.  Their numbers had dwindled to 7 individuals in Shaanxi China but have since been slowly recovering due to conservation and captive breeding programs in both China and Japan.  The Japanese crested ibis was reintroduced in Japan in 2008.

Japanese crested ibis

Japanese waxwing

Bohemian waxwing