No trip to China is complete without a visit to see the giant panda, the country’s unofficial symbol.
But dozens of other wildlife species are found in China too, including these five that you may spot while on a WWF and Nat Hab China trip.
1. Red panda: This bear-bodied, thick-furred species has little resemblance to its distant cousin except for the false thumb both possess, which is actually an extension of the wrist bone. The skillful, acrobatic red panda stays predominantly in trees, using its tail for balance, and descends to the ground headfirst.
2. Asiatic black bear: Also known as the moon bear, the Asiatic black bear is easily recognizable thanks to a patch of whitish fur in a crescent-shape on its chest. The species has seen a precipitous decline in its population because of poaching—bear organs are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Conservation-focused travel can deter poaching in favor of tourism!
3. Yellow-throated marten: The yellow-throated marten looks similar to its relative the weasel, but it is distinguishable by its gold and black hair. It can be found both on the ground and in treetops.
4. Sichuan takin: A goat antelope, the Sichuan takin has a thick golden coat and upturned horns. They make their home in the mountains during the summer when individuals form large herds and move to lower elevations in the winter when they break up into smaller groups.
5. Blue eared pheasant: The blue eared pheasant has a striking red face, gray-blue feathers and distinctive white “ears.” This large, hardy bird does well in mountainous forests and is found throughout China.
Feature photo © Justin Gibson