Animal Species and Distribution

China has about one sixth of the world's population of wild animals. There are almost 7,000 species of vertebrate animals. The list includes 500 kinds of beasts, 1,258 birds, 376 reptiles, and 284 amphibians. There are also nearly 3,900 species of fish and 50,000 species of invertebrates. The total number of species of insects is about 150,000.


Many species have survived in China because the region has been relatively unaffected by glaciers. About 20 per cent of the animals in China are in indigenous to this country. They include the world famous Giant Panda, the Golden Monkey, the South China Tiger, and the White-flag Dolphin, to name a few.


The Giant Panda eats only bamboo leaves and shoots. There are just over 1,000 pandas now living in the world and the animal has become a symbol of all protected and endangered wild animals.


The Red Crowned Crane, which symbolizes longevity in some southeastern Asian countries, has a body more than a meter long and is covered in white fur. Only a small area on the head is dotted with bare, red skin.


The White-flag Dolphin is one of only two types of dolphins in the world that live in fresh water. There has been great scientific interest in White-flag Dolphins since the first one was captured in the Yangtze River in 1980.


The distribution of Chinese animals is generally divided into seven areas: North East, North China, Inner Mongolia-Xinjiang area, Qinghai-Tibet area, South West, Central China and South China. The animal species vary a lot according to the different geological conditions in these areas.