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The Animal Science Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about scientific and technological topics related to pets, livestock, and other animals. See how cutting-edge advances help - or hinder - species around the world.

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Chinese Wildlife – Endangered Symbols

Posted August 13, 2008 12:01 AM by SavvyExacta

In honor of the Olympic Games in Beijing, I decided to learn about some endangered animals in China. Some were familiar to me while others were new. How many of these species have you heard of?

Giant Panda
The giant panda is one of China's best-known animals, and is closely associated with the host country for the 2008 Olympics. Often depicted eating bamboo, this black and white bear lives high in the mountains and has evolved from its formerly carnivorous ways. A low reproductive rate and bamboo deforestation are two reasons for the endangerment of the giant panda. The Wolong Nature Preserve in China uses captive breeding and artificial insemination in an attempt to save the species. Wolong was, however, seriously damaged in the major earthquake that struck China earlier this year.

Chinese Alligator
When I think of alligators (and crocodiles; I tend to mix them up despite learning tricks about snout shapes), I always think of the Nile and the Everglades. Nevertheless, China has its share of alligators in the Yangtze River. About 500 members of this species are left in the wild. A breeding and research center has been set up not only to preserve the Chinese alligator, but also to study its interesting heart. The Chinese alligator has a four-chambered heart like birds and mammals that can also separate the flow of oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood.

Snow Leopard
You many not picture a snow leopard in China, but they do live there - at altitudes of 2,000 to 6,000 meters. Following herds of blue sheep, they wander the Tibetan plateau and Inner Mongolia. The spotted pattern of a snow leopard's fur helps the animal blend in with the rocky landscape of these areas. Although the Chinese snow leopard is hard to spot (no pun intended), it is still endangered because of poaching for its beautiful coat.

Red-Crowned Crane
The red-crowned crane symbolizes longevity, fortune, and dignity. Eight of the world's 15 crane species live in China. The red-crowned variety prefers to live along reedy marshlands, flying long distances to feed on fish, worms, frogs, and even grains. The crane has become endangered in China because of pollution,over-capture, and hunting.

These are just a few animal species from China – there are many more, some of which are endangered. Sometimes, it's nice to stop and take a look at what's in someone else's backyard as opposed to your own.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Panda

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,391754,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Alligator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_leopard

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-crowned_Crane

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 578
Good Answers: 16
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Re: Chinese Wildlife – Endangered Symbols

08/13/2008 2:47 PM

Funny that at the same time President Bush is trying to loosen governmental restrictions when it comes to the destruction of endangered species' habitats.

Also there is a project going on to sequence the Giant Panda Genome which could help endangered species in the future through cloning.

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