Land and Resources, Animal Life
Chinese water deer, Mongolian Steppe, raccoon dogs, sea crabs, hoofed animals
The diverse habitats in China support a wide range of fauna, from arctic species in Northeast China and Tibet to many tropical species in southern China. Some species that have become extinct elsewhere still survive in China. Among these are great paddlefishes of the Yangtze River, species of alligator and salamander, giant pandas (found only in southwestern China), and Chinese water deer (found only in China and Korea).
Tropical South China has large populations of several types of primates, including gibbons and macaques. Antelope, gazelle, chamois, wild horses, deer, and other hoofed animals inhabit the uplands and basins of the west and northwest.
Small carnivores are numerous throughout the country. These include foxes, wolves, raccoon dogs, and civets. China also has several species of large carnivores, including bears, tigers, and leopards, but they are few in numbers and confined to remote areas. Leopard species are distributed at the peripheries of the heavily populated areas: Leopards are found in Northeast China, snow leopards in Tibet, and clouded leopards in the extreme south. The many species of birds include pheasants, peacocks, parrots, herons, and cranes. Many wild species are under increasing threat due to the growing human population and the loss of native habitat.
Over the centuries humans have domesticated several types of beasts of burden that are adapted to the varied conditions. Water buffalo are important draft animals in the tropical and subtropical south; camels are used in the arid north and west; horses are important on the Mongolian Steppe; and mules are common in North China. On the frigid Tibetan Plateau, domesticated yaks are important as draft animals and for their milk, fur, and meat.
Marine life is abundant, especially along the southeastern coast, and includes flounder, cod, tuna, cuttlefish, sea crabs, prawns, and dolphins. The rivers of China contain carp, salmon, trout, sturgeon, catfish, and the Chinese river dolphin.
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