is one of the countries with the greatest diversity of wildlife in the
world. There are more than 4,400 species of vertebrates, more than 10
percent of the world's total.
There are nearly 500 animal species, 1,189
species of birds, more than 320 species of reptiles and 210 species of
amphibians. Wildlife peculiar to China includes such well-known animals as
the giant panda, golden-haired monkey, South China tiger, brown-eared pheasant,
white-flag dolphin, Chinese alligator, and red-crowned crane, totaling more than
The giant panda is an especially attractive sight.
Heavily built, it has a docile disposition, and is delightfully adorable.
The 1.2 m tall red-crowned crane is a snow-white migratory bird. A
distinctive patch of red skin tops its red-brown head, hence its name. The
white-flag dolphin is one of only two species of freshwater whale in the
In 1980, a male white-flag dolphin was caught for the first time in
the Yangtze River, which aroused great interest among dolphin researchers
has among some of the most abundant plant life in the world. There are
more than 32,000 species of higher plants, and almost all the
major plants that
grown in the northern hemisphere's frigid, temperate and tropical zones are
represented in China.
In addition, there are more than 7,000 species of
woody plants, including 2,800 tree species. The metasequoia, Chinese
cypress, cathaya tree, China fir, golden larch, Taiwan fir, Fujian cypress,
dove-tree, eucommia and camplotheca acuminata are found only in China. The
metasequoia, a tall species of arbor, is considered as one of the oldest and
rarest plants in the world.
The golden larch, one of only five species of
rare garden trees in the world, grow in the mountain areas in the Yangtze River
valley. Its coin-shaped leaves on short branches are green in spring and
summer, turning yellow in autumn. China is home to morethan 2,000 species
of edible plants and 3,000 species of medicinal plants.
Ginseng from the
Changbai Mountains, safflowers from Tibet, Chinese wolfberry from Ningxia and
notoginseng from Yunnan and Guizhou are particularly well-known Chinese herbal
medicines. There is a wide variety of flowering plants. A flower
indigenous to China, the elegant and graceful peony is treasured as the
"color of the nation and the scent of heaven." Three famous
species of flowers -- the azalea, fairy primrose and rough gentian -- grow in
southwest China. During the flowering period, mountain slopes covered with
flowers in a riot of colors form a delightful contrast with undulating ridges
a concerted effort to protect the nation's zoological and botanical resources,
and save species close to extinction, China has established 932 nature reserves
to protect forests and wildlife, with a total area of 79.71 million ha.
The 12 nature reserves in China, namely, Sichuan's Wolong, Jilin's Changbai
Moutains, Guangdong's Dinghu Mountains, Guizhou's Fanjing Moutains, Fujian's
Wuyi Moutains, Hubei's Shennongjia, Inner Mongolia's Xilingol, Xinjiang's Mr.
Bogda, Yunnan's Xishuangbanna, Juangsu's Yancheng, Zhejiang's Tianmu Moutains
and Guizhou's Maolan, have joined the "International People and Biosphere
Protection Network." Heilongjiang's Zhalong, Jilin's Xianghai,
Hunan's Dongting Lake, Jiangxi's Poyang Lake, Qinghai's Bird Island and Hainan's
Dongzhai Harbor have been included in the listing of the world's important