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Past Winners

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Past Winners

2016 Winner: Dongrui Yu

For the past 4 years Dongrui has been on a quest to promote the importance of preserving China's starry night sky. His project, Finding Our Lost Stars, was selected as the winner of the WildChina Explorer Grant 2016 by a panel of esteemed judges including Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, China’s pioneering wildlife photographer Xi Zhinong, COO of China’s no. 1 travel community website Jinghui Cai, 2014 WildChina Explorer Ricky Qi and WildChina founder Mei Zhang.

Dongrui’s collaboration with WildChina will take him back to where his passion to protect the night sky began – his home province of Yunnan. He will travel through the region and capture around 10,000 photos and multiple time-lapse videos to create a star map of the province. The trip will not only promote awareness of his cause but will also become an important part of his bigger plan - to find the perfect location for a dark sky reserve in Yunnan. 

He will be broadcasting updates live from the road via WildChina’s Facebook, Instagram, Weibo and WeChat channels so he can share Yunnan’s beautiful night sky with the world. 


2014 Winner: Ricky Qi

For the past two years, Ricky has been producing and directing a feature-length documentary about the Mosuo people, China's last matriarchal society. Hovering between the borders of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, his pioneering project took him on a month-long trek via horse caravan to some of the most remote and least documented places in the lower Himalayas.


2013 Winner: Heli

Heli's expedition into the remote wilderness of Xinjiang in search of the Tianshan Snow Lotus pushed the boundaries of Chinese exploration in its examination of the beauty and fragility of the region's natural environment.


2012 Winner: William Bleisch

William Bleisch ventured to Yunnan's Ailaoshan Provincial Nature Reserve with an aim to establish a new trekking route along the ridge-line of the Ailao Mountains. The route would connect existing gibbon habitats and help preserve the species.  


2012 Winner: Zhang Shanghua

Backpacking through remote Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan, Shanghua Zhang was welcomed into local homes. He gained access to communities of monks and was invited to attend prayers at the revered Yaqing Monastery.



2011 Winner: Jeff Fuchs

Together with British endurance athlete Michael Kleinwort, Jeff traveled on foot along the most isolated and little-known stretch of the salt trading route in Qinghai and  documented the stories of the elderly, nomadic traders.