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The Best 7 Animals to See in China and Where to See Them

Written by GavinUpdated Jan. 15, 2021

There are 7 amazing animals in China that you'll probably never see in other places. Learn about what they are like and where you can see them here. These seven animals are endangered in the wild, but you can see them in zoos and animal breeding and care places in China.

Those that are only found in China include giant pandas, Tibetan macaques, Chinese giant salamanders, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and Chinese sturgeons. The red panda, Siberian tiger, and Chinese sturgeon are in other countries too, but the Chinese zoos, safari parks, and breeding centers are good places to see them.

1. Giant Pandas

Giant pandas are unique to China and are China's most popular rare animal by far. They look cuddly. Chengdu's number one tourist attraction are the pandas, and the four best places to see giant pandas in China are around Chengdu in four breeding and research places.

If you want to get close to them and interact, we can arrange that as part of our Giant Panda Volunteer Program or on a private visit with us.

2. Red Pandas

The Red PandaA red panda

Red pandas are a little bigger than cats, and they too are endangered. They are found in central China and Himalayan areas of other countries. They are also found in the same habitat, but they are shy and not easily seen in the wild.

Other than Chinese zoos, the best places to watch them up close is at the giant panda centers around Chengdu. They are not commonly seen in foreign zoos.

3. Chinese Giant Salamanders

Giant Salamander at Cat Mountain in GuilinA giant salamander on Cat Mountain

These are truly big amphibians. They look like big lizards like Komodo dragons, but they are not reptiles. They can breathe underwater. They can also live on land!

They are the biggest species of giant salamanders, and bigger than the Japanese giant salamander. They have bizarre behaviors, can live longer than 60 years, grow to almost 2 meters or 6 feet in length, and weigh close to 60 kilograms or 130 pounds.

They are an endangered species in the wild, but almost 3 million are raised in farms in China for food. These live in several foreign zoos, but China is the best place to see them. In China, some zoos and aquariums where you can see them include the Beijing Zoo, the new Beijing Blue Zoo that has a Giant Salamander Zone, Shanghai Zoo, and Shanghai Aquarium.

4. Tibetan Macaques

Tibetan Macaque in ZhangjiajieTibetan macaques in Zhangjiajie

Tibetan macaques are found almost solely in Tibet and central and southern China, though they have been seen in eastern India.

These are the largest breed of macaques in the world. Males commonly attain a weight of 13 to 19 kilograms (29 to 42 pounds) and are larger than females.

The best places to see Tibetan macaques in China are conveniently in some of China's most famous scenic areas not far from big tourist cities. Monkey Valley in The Yellow Mountains Scenic Area is the best place with troops of Tibetan macaques. It is the only place in China where observing monkeys in the wild is specially arranged for tourists.

Recommended itinerary: Huangshan Photography Tour

About 3,000 more macaques live in the equally famous Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Another 1,000 more live in the Mt. Emei Natural Ecology Monkey Reserve that is China's biggest reserve for wild monkeys.

Guilin's Seven Star Park has its own "semi-wild" troop of Tibetan macaques. They come to delighted tourists for food though there are multiple signs saying that "the monkeys can be dangerous". They escaped from Seven Star Park Zoo, but didn't go far!

5. Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys

The Yunnan Golden MonkeyA Golden Monkey

These are a smaller monkey species than the macaques that are only found in mountains in central and southwestern China. They are distinctive because of their gold-colored hair and because they are known as the primate species that live in the coldest climate. They are a national treasure.

They are also endangered, and except for a few zoos in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan, the only place to see them is in Chinese zoos or parks. An excellent place to go is the Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park that is between the Yangtze and Mekong rivers. Our special 6-Day Shangri-La Adventure Tour does just that.

6. Siberian Tigers

Siberian Tiger ParkSiberian Tigers at Harbin Siberian Tiger Park

Siberian tigers are the biggest of the big cats and the largest breed of tigers. They were almost extinct in the 1930s, but now there are about 600 in the wild in Russia and another 30 or so in the wild in China. Chinese zoos and Siberian tiger breeding centers such as Harbin Siberian Tiger Park have been successful in breeding them, and now there are thousands of them in captivity.

China's big safari parks and zoos are the best places to see them in the world since they have so many of them along with other species of big cats.

7. Chinese Sturgeons

The Chinese SturgeonA Chinese Sturgeon

The Chinese sturgeons are almost extinct. They used to live in Japan, Korea, along the Chinese coast, and in the Yangtze River and other rivers of China. They are among the largest freshwater fish, and they can grow more than 4 meters (13 feet) in length.

The Chinese Sturgeon Museum is in the city of Yichang near the Three Gorges Dam. It is part of the Chinese Sturgeon Research Center. You can see it along with other species of sturgeon from around the world. Other places to see them include the Beijing Aquarium.

See China's Amazing and Rare Animals with Us

Be a Panda KeeperEnjoy seeing giant pandas and other interesting animals in China.

If you'd like a tour to see China's interesting animals, tell us what you'd like to do, and which animals you'd like to see, and we can create a tour tailored for your requirements. You'll have the flexibility of deciding what you want to do, where you want to go, and various details such as accommodations and meals.

China's best aquariums and zoos are in Shanghai and Beijing, so here is a suggested tour of the cities that we could modify according to your interests:

We could design an exotic animal tour according to your wishes. Let us create a unique trip for you!

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

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