China is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. The Asian state is home to over 4,900 species of fish, 1,200 species of birds, 560 species of mammals, and over 400 species of reptiles. Many animals are endemic to the country, including the world-famous giant panda. About 840 species of animals in China are threatened, vulnerable, or glaring at extinction as a result of human activities such as pollution, habitat destruction, and poaching. The following are some of the animals found in China.
The Asian elephant is smaller than the African elephant, but it is still large enough to be the largest terrestrial animal in Asia. The species is not limited to China, but it is distributed throughout South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Asian elephants are listed as endangered as their numbers have declined by over 50% in the past 70 years. The Asian elephant is often domesticated, unlike its African counterpart. They once roamed a large part of the country but are currently confined to Pu'er and Xishuangbanna Prefectures. There are between 200 and 250 wild elephants in the country.
The Amur leopard is a native species of northern China along the border with North Korea and Russia. Its habitat extends across the Tumen River into the three countries. The Chinese population is found in Shanxi, Henan, and Hebei Provinces, but it has since gone extinct in Gansu Province. Despite being listed as critically endangered, the species receives little attention from conservationists in the country.
The Tibetan antelope is a bovid that inhabits the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Their population is estimated at 100,000. Although the numbers have increased over the past two decades, they are increasingly being poached for food. Population pressure and the need to create more agricultural land to feed the people have resulted in habitat destruction that endangers the Tibetan antelope. During the winter, they can be seen digging through the snow to find grass.
Giant pandas are found in the temperate bamboo forests of southwestern China. They are among the most endangered animals in the world as their global wild population is estimated at less than 3,000, while about 200 are found in zoos. Giant pandas are found throughout the mountainous region of Central China across Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi Provinces. They roamed the lowlands in the past, but human activities have confided them to the mountains.
Golden Snub-nosed Monkey
The golden snub-nosed monkey is the rarest of the monkeys and can only be found in China. They get their name from the diminished nose and the golden hair. They live in groups of between 10 and 100 individuals. There are about 15,000 monkeys in Sichuan, Gansu, and Hubei Provinces.
The pink dolphin is locally known as the Chinese white dolphin. It is distinguished from other dolphins by the pink color and a hump on the dorsal fin. The pink dolphin is found throughout the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, as well as Eastern China. It is not as social as other dolphins and will often avoid humans and other marine animals, including dolphins.
The Chinese pheasant is a bird with golden yellow feathers and is sometimes known as the golden pheasant. The Chinese people consider it a sign of eternal beauty and good fortune. The bird is endemic to the mountainous forests of central and western China. They are difficult to spot since they hide in thick canopies of dense forests.
The Chinese alligator is among the smallest of the crocodiles. It is characterized by a stocky body, rough scales on the back, and slightly softer scales on the front. In the past, they were found in large numbers in rivers throughout China, but they are currently limited to the lower sections of the Yangtze River. Unfortunately, the species is critically endangered.
The red-crowned crane is a bird with a long neck and legs. It is about 5 feet tall. Ancient folklore reputes the bird for living to over 1000 years, but the lifespan of the crane is about 70 years. It is a symbol of longevity for the Chinese people. They spend winter in east-central China and the Korean Peninsula and migrate to Siberia and northeastern China during summer and spring to breed.
The sable is an animal that resembles the weasel. It is found in the Mongolian mountains of China, where it spends the day in temperate forests searching for prey. They are stealthy hunters that feed on fish, small mammals, and birds.