Through the lens of the photographer Mr Wang Keju and his passion for wildlife protection, the photographic exhibition "Love Between Two Cranes", in Mr Wang's own words, tells an epic love story between two red-crowned cranes: Dream (father crane) and Cloud (mother crane) in Zhalong Wetland, northeast China. Their story was beautifully captured by Mr Wang over a period of 7 years.

"Wang Keju has followed the wild cranes through the seasons and has selected his photographs and ordered them to express stories of unique birds he has personally known... stories of a crane losing its mate, of the fate of a lone crane, of a family with one strong chick and one that falters. Through stories he brings us another highly personal understanding of cranes, whose lives are not entirely different from those close around us: friends, relatives, ourselves."

James Harris, Vice President,
International Crane Foundation

Meet the artist - Mr Wang Keju

Born in 1959 in northern China, Mr Wang used to work at the Corporate Culture Department of CRRC Qiqihar Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. Due to the proximity of the wetland where he worked and the nature of his work, he has been studying and photographing red-crowned cranes for more than 20 years.

He is now a famous environmentalist, international crane expert and renowned photographer for International Crane Foundation. Mr Wang is known as the father of red-crowned cranes in China.

An artist of Chinese national treasure level, in 2017 Mr Wang was named a Top Ten Global Chinese Cultural Persons by the Chinese Culture Promotion Society and Phoenix Satellite Television.

Zhalong Wetland National Nature Reserve

Zhalong Wetland

Zhalong Wetland is in Heilongjiang province in northeast China. Established in 1979, Zhalong Nature Reserve is renowned for its previous waterfowl conservation, with a total area of 210,000 acres.

Almost covered with water reed, Zhalong Wetland is a natural paradise for waterfowl due to its climate and geographic characteristics. Zhalong Nature Reserve home to more than 296 different kinds of birds, the majority being cranes.

The red-crowned crane

2 cranes in snow

The red-crowned crane (simplified Chinese: 丹顶鹤- pinyin: ‘dāndǐng hè’. The Chinese character ‘丹’ means ‘red’, ‘顶’ means ‘crown’ and ‘鹤’ means ‘crane’) is a large east Asian crane, among the rarest cranes in the world.

In China, the red-crowned crane is often featured in myths and legends, as a symbol of luck, longevity, and nobility. In art and literature, immortals are often depicted riding on cranes. Red-crowned cranes are called fairy-crane or crane of the immortals (simplified Chinese: 仙鹤 - pinyin: ‘xiānhè’).

The red-crowned cranes have a lifespan of up to 70 years and they mate for the first time at around three or four years of age. A mating pair then remain partners for life.

Love Between Two Cranes

The photos and Illustrations are abstracted from the Book "Love Between Two Cranes" by Mr Wang Keju.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.