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A Thousand Cranes Take FlightIshi Hiroyuki

The red-crowned crane has long been revered in Japan as an auspicious bird. Once the cranes could be found throughout the country, but overhunting in the early years of Japan’s modern era decimated their numbers until they disappeared altogether on the main island of Honshū. Fortunately, extensive conservation efforts have brought back the beloved bird from near extinction. Where at one point there were only 33 red-crowned cranes confirmed in Japan, there are now 1,800.

In Photographic Pursuit of Hokkaidō’s Rare Owls (Photos)Tanaka Hiroshi

The shimafukurō, one of the world’s largest owl species, was once thought extinct in Japan and is still considered endangered. Tanaka Hiroshi has been focusing his camera on these magnificent raptors in his native Hokkaidō for over three and a half decades.

Thunder Birds Are Go! (Japan in Photos)

A ptarmigan in its snow-white winter plumage in the foothills of the Tateyama mountain range in Toyama Prefecture. The bird’s Japanese name, raichō, literally means “thunder bird.” (© Jiji)

Tateyama: Another World Above the Clouds (Photos)Yanagi Akinobu

The Tateyama mountain range in Toyama Prefecture is a special place, offering climbers access to a world of stunning snow-swept landscapes and a precious opportunity to see the ptarmigans that have lived here since the last Ice Age. Nature photographer Yanagi Akinobu presents a selection of his favorite images of the area.

National Institute for Environmental Studies: Using Genetic Time Capsules to Preserve Species for the Future

The National Institute for Environmental Studies (located in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture) is building “time capsules” containing specially frozen samples of tissues and cells taken from endangered species. These samples hold vital information for scientists studying the causes of extinction and may lead to key breakthroughs in the fight against infectious disease.

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