The enormous population pressures upon China, together with the huge industrial and modernisation programmes taking place are not the best news for China’s wildlife. 

Animal protection is not yet regarded as a major priority, and the insatiable demand for animal parts for Chinese medicine continues to be a major issue, not only in China itself, but all over the globe.

Although China has a very diverse wildlife, it is very difficult in most locations to see the rarer species of animals such as Snow Leopards, Manchurian Tigers and Giant Pandas, which are very hard to spot, even with professional help, while birdwatchers and Plant hunters are in a far more fortunate position to indulge their passions.

One of China’s premier nature reserves is Changqing, in Shaanxi Province, one of the few places that, given a lot of luck, you might spot a Giant Panda in the wild. This mountain reserve reaches elevations in excess of 3,000 metres, and is also home to other rare animals such as Golden Monkeys and Golden Takins.

The greatest concentrations of wildlife are in Western Sichuan Province, at Woolong National Nature Reserve, which include Snow Leopards, Giant Pandas, Red Pandas, Black Bears, Takins and various Deer species among its residents.

The best place to ensure you actually see a Panda is at Bifengxia Panda Base, the site of captive protected Pandas who originally lived in Wolong Nature Reserve prior to the destruction wrought by the earthquake of 2008. 

In Jiuzhhaigou National Park, there are a few Giant Pandas and Golden Sub-nosed Monkeys among its wildlife, but the popularity of this beautiful area makes such creatures very shy and unlikely to be seen.

In neighbouring Yunnan Province, The area around Shangri La is home to Red Pandas, Black-Crested and Hoolock Gibbons, Yunnan Snub-nosed and Phayre’s Leaf Monkeys, Giant Black Squirrels and several species of Flying Squirrels. In the wild forests of Xishuangbanna, in southern Yunnan, there are good populations of Asian Elephant and Indo-Chinese Tigers.

If you are visiting Zhangjiajie National Park to enjoy the stunning Wulingyuan formations, you can also expect to see Rhesus Monkeys, Blue, Yellow and Golden Macaques, Pangolins and Giant salamanders. Likewise, at Huangshan Mountain you may also encounter Huangshan Panthers, Pangolins, Huangshan Monkeys and wild deer roaming amid many birds, unusual flowering plants and trees.

The Tibetan Plateau is home to the Tibetan Wild Ass, Chiru Antelopes, Himalayan Blue Sheep, Tibetan Gazelles, Yaks and Tibetan Wolves.

In the far northeast of China, close to the Russian Border, the wild cold landscapes, increasingly being opened up to China’s skiing industry, Manchurian Tigers, Bears and Reindeer are among the creatures who still have a foothold here.