Dutch wildlife photographer Mandy Etpison showcases her art and photography through the Etpison Museum and the Capt. Wilson Art Gallery at the Palau Pacific Resort. She has published seven book on Palau culture and nature, and marine life. For decades she has donated her Palau photographs and art to government agencies, schools, and NGOs for environmental & educational causes.

By Mandy Etpison:

I seem to go through phases with my art and photography, focusing on different subjects every few years. The one thing I never tire off is diving and marine life, especially unusual fish behavior and manta rays.

After opening the museum in 1999, I spent a lot of time on Palauan culture and archeological sites. This resulted in the Palau- Culture and Nature books, which we published in 2004. After I became fascinated with Palau’s endemic and sea birds, and spent the next two years hanging in trees and on uninhabited islands looking for birds. This taught me a great deal of patience! No one had ever photographed all of Palau’s endemic birds before, so that was a rewarding experience, discovering new things about behavior and nesting. I met ornithologist Doug Pratt, a great guy and one of the most knowledgeable people on Pacific birds, which resulted in our book “Birds and Bats of Palau”, published in 2008.
In 2009 I got side-tracked by my first snorkel encounter with the endangered Mesekiu, the rarely encountered dugong sea cow. There were no photographs available of Palauan dugongs, so this became my new challenge, but I quickly learned that these shy animals were even more difficult subjects than birds. For the next 4 years we did a Dugong awareness campaign with UNEP, local NGOs, government agencies and local schools, which resulted in new legislation to prevent illegal poaching and several arrests, and finally some amazing underwater and aerial photographs of these cool creatures, which was featured on CNN.
Since 2010 I have started a web database on manta ray identification, and we now have over 350+ animals identified/named in Palau, which no one would have believed a few years ago… Check out the database
I love living on Palau and having the opportunity to go out and photograph the amazing nature and animals whenever life doesn’t get in the way…