In 2012, Kushiro Zoo signed a friendly exchange agreement with Taipei Zoo to facilitate frequent interactions between both parties. Coinciding with the opening of the New Red-crowned Crane Exhibition Ground, Kushiro City Mayor Hiroya Ebina led a delegation consisting of city councilors, members of the Society for the Friendship between Japan and Taiwan, and Kushiro Zoo Director Kimiya Koga to Taipei to offer their congratulations. Besides elevating technical collaborations in areas such as the ex situ conservation, cultivation, and maintenance of endangered species to the next level, the interaction between Kushiro City and Wenshan District will also be strengthened. Red-crowned Cranes are found in Japan, China, and Russia. In particular, the Red-crowned Cranes in Japan do not migrate, or they only relocate within a short distance. Apart from exclusive groups from Hokkaido that are bred in captivity in Japanese zoos, Big and Kika are the only Red-crowned Cranes found outside of Japan in the world. In 2011, Big and Kika arrived in Taiwan from Kushiro Zoo via international cooperation, and it is hoped that the ex situ conservational efforts between 2 different countries will distribute the management of the captive population and avoid keeping them in one particular country or institution, so as to prevent the risk of losing the entire population to natural disasters or diseases, as well as to establish a satellite population for ex situ conservation.
Starting from 2014, Taipei Zoo began preparing for a new ground for the Red-crowned Cranes at the green space in front of the Amphibian and Reptile House. Besides increasing the surface area, more reeds were planted to re-create their natural habitat in the wild as closely as possible. Reeds are used by Red-crowned Cranes as nesting material during mating season; live bait is also placed in the water, allowing the Red-crowned Cranes to forage for food. In terms of the indoor pen, an air conditioning system has been installed so that Big and Kika can cool off indoors away from the summer heat. With the inauguration of the New Red-crowned Crane Exhibition Ground, Big and Kika will be given a more comfortable living environment, and the visitors will be able to view the Red-crowned Cranes from diverse angles, in turn helping to promote education and conservation research.
The New Red-crowned Crane Exhibition Ground inauguration ceremony was held at the Bird World. The ceremony was kicked off with the lively Red-crowned Crane dance from a group of adorable children from Taipei Municipal Zhongzheng Preschool led by Principal Chen Hsiang-ling. In addition to Japanese guests, Taipei City Government’s Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Hung Che-i, Hsinchu Zoo Director Yang Chia-min, Taipei City Wenshan District Director Cheng Yu-feng, and National Taiwan Museum Research Department Chief Hsu Yu-chun also attended the opening ceremony, which came to a successful conclusion amid a bustling ambiance.