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Wild things

By : China Daily|Updated: 2011-11-05

Clockwise from top: Pandas at the Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan; Peacock Lake in Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve is aptly named; snub-nosed monkeys are a special feature at Shennongjia Nature Reserve while Tibetan antelope can be seen at Hoh Xil Nature Reserve. [China Daily]

As well as hosting a treasure trove of historic landmarks, China is filled with exotic wildlife

The panda is a Chinese icon. The Siberian tiger is also rare but can be seen in Northeast China while the Chinese alligator is another threatened species that still can be spotted in the Yangtze River valley. China has a large number of nature reserves designed to protect wildlife, especially endangered animals. These areas are now becoming hot tourist destinations and here are five classic places to visit.

1. Shennongjia Nature Reserve

Snub-nosed monkeys are a major attraction at this nature reserve and can be seen climbing trees, picking fruit and getting up to mischief.

This nature reserve is located in western Hubei province, and because of the complicated terrain and dense rainfall is a mysterious place.

There are many rare plants as well as thousands of kinds of Chinese herbs.

Due to the lack of sunshine in some areas there is a great variety of white animals, such as white bears, white deers, white turtles, white rats, white snakes, white squirrels and many white birds.

Locals say that a "strange" beast haunts the deep forest and there have been alleged sightings of this ape-like creature that is supposed to resemble the Yeti or Bigfoot.

2. Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve

In the virgin forests of Wild Elephant Valley, herds of elephants roam about in their special protection zone located in this wonderful park in Southwest China's Yunnan province.

This is one of the few places in China where wildlife can be admired in its natural habitat.

Peacock Lake lies in the center of the reserve and attracts foxes, wild boar, snub-nosed monkeys and rare wild birds.

The Peacock Lake area has leafy trees and its waters are as clear as a mirror.

Distinctive subtropical plants grow around the banks, and a water pavilion in Dai ethnic group-style is built in the center of the lake.

Boating in the lake is delightful way to experience this area.

3. Hoh Xil Nature Reserve

Hoh Xil means "blue mountain ridge" in Mongolian and is a wonderland world of wild life in China.

This natural reserve is situated in the Yushu county in Qinghai province, and has an average altitude of more than 4,600 meters.

The climate of Hoh Xil is extreme, making it not suitable for people and as a result wild animals, not humans, are the landlords of this area.

There are more than 230 species of animals including wild yak, Tibetan antelope, wild donkey, the white-lip deer, and brown bear.

The Tibetan antelope is the pride of Hoh Xil and is the most important protected animal in the region.

They have a sleek figure, agile movement and the male antelope has a pair of long, jet-black horns.

Every June and July, female Tibetan antelopes gather in different places and begin migration to their preferred breeding grounds.

4. Wolong Nature Reserve

This reserve is carpeted by bamboo, which is the giant panda's favorite food. As the largest and most important natural reserve of giant panda in China, the Wolong Natural Reserve has received great attention all over the world.

Situated in Aba of Sichuan province, about 130 kilometers from the capital Chengdu, the reserve attracts many visitors.

But the pandas do not live alone. Other endangered wild birds and animals also live here including the white-lipped deer, the golden eagle, the snow leopard, the takin and the macaque.

5. Badaling Wildlife World

This zoo is located at the foot of the Great Wall at Badaling, which is about 60 kilometers from downtown Beijing.

There are so many varieties of international beasts worthy of checking out including African lions, white tigers, Siberian tigers, wolves, brown bears, snub-nosed monkeys, leopards, African giraffes, blue peacock, Australian kangaroos, pheasants, black swans and red-crowned cranes.

At Wildlife World visitors can feed the big beasts of prey with live animals and have close encounters with mild and cute animals.