Where to See China’s Most Amazing Animals
China is a world-class destination for animal lovers. The nation ranks in the top five most biodiverse countries in the world. This is due to a range of unique climates that support many different species.
Some of the planet’s most rare and exciting animals can be found in the wilds of China.
Although there has been serious contention over the treatment of some of China’s most rare and celebrated creatures such as the giant panda, new efforts are being made to support the populations of these amazing animals.
Additionally, thanks to new government initiatives and a growing interest in ecotourism, other rare species are getting a much-needed boost.
This is why now is perhaps the best time to visit these animals to see where they live and how important they are for the betterment of the entire world.
If seeing exotic animals is an important part of your next trip to China, check out the list below of the four most amazing creatures and where you can get close enough to look them in the eyes and get a glimpse of their beautiful mysteriousness.
The red panda is a remarkable animal to behold. This mammal can be found in the Himalayas and its foothills in southwestern China (Yunnan and Sichuan). The red panda is often referred to as a red bear-cat, but it is really neither.
It is the sole surviving member of the Ailuridae family, which is part of the superfamily Musteloidea which includes badgers, weasels, martins, and otters.
With fewer than ten thousand of these beauties left, it is a rarity to see them in the wild. There are several captive-breeding programs in China that help to conserve the remaining population.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of looking for them in the wild, they can be seen in most major zoos throughout China.
The Whitefin Dolphin
In China, the whitefin dolphin is known as the baiji. It is one of two freshwater dolphins in the world. The creature is known for its elegance, earning the nickname “Goddess of the Yangtze.”
The dolphin is slightly larger than a full-grown man and lives exclusively in the Yangtze River.
Sadly the baiji population has plummeted in the last fifty years due to chemical changes in the Yangtze River. In 1997 it was estimated that there were fewer than fifty of these creatures left.
The last whitefin dolphin was reportedly sighted in 2007. Although many scientists believe the mammal may be extinct, there are still some who hold out hope.
Hope is the key word here. China’s government is setting the nation on a better environmental path through the ratification of what is known as the “Ecological Civilization,” enacted in 2012.
This is a hope that it is not too late to protect the habitats of marvelous species like the whitefin dolphin.
If you find yourself on a boat, drifting down the Yangtze, look deep into the water with the hope that you will glimpse a whitefin dolphin.
Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey
These exceptional creatures, known in China as the Sichuan golden hair monkey, are one of three snub-nosed monkeys in China. They are distributed across four different provinces: Hubei, Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi. If you go hunting for these rare monkeys, you will have to hike up into elevated forests as they can be found at elevations of 1,500 to 3,400 meters. They live communally in groups as small as five to large bands consisting of hundreds of monkeys.
To view them in the wild is a special treat. However, if you do not want to spend your time hunting for these monkeys in the woods, they can be found at the Shanghai Zoo.
No list of China’s most exciting creatures to see would be complete without the giant panda. These enchanting creatures continue to capture national and international attention because of their grace and beauty. The giant panda has become a symbol of China for good reason, they are truly special.
They are one of only a handful of animals in the world to have their habitat protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Living almost exclusively on bamboo, these gentle giants (weighing up to 350 lbs.) are making a comeback.
Due to serious conservation efforts, they have a population on the rise and after having as few as 1,000 pandas in the wild around the year 2000, it is estimated that there may be as many as 3,000 now living in the wild.
If you would like to see Pandas in the wild, they can be found in the mountainous regions of Shaanxi and Gansu, with the largest concentration residing in the Sichuan province.
However, if you don’t have the time and desire to chase this rare bear in the wild, they can be seen at the Beijing Zoo. There are also plenty of other opportunities to see pandas at the Wolong National Nature Reserve and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, both of which are located in Sichuan.
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He has written for The Permaculture Research Institute and Uisio among other prominent outlets.
He is the author of Death: An Exploration (2016). For more visit his official website: www.lorenmayshark.com