China has a very diverse wildlife population, with more than 6,000 species of vertebrates. These animals live in a host of habitats, such as China’s many bodies of water. From the Yangtze River to the Bohai Sea, China is home to many incredible indigenous water animals.
China’s oceans, especially around Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta, are home to the endangered pink dolphin. Pink dolphins are also known as Chinese white dolphins, because their bodies are known to glisten white, while swimming under the ocean’s surface. Unfortunately, these dolphins are endangered. A 2011 study counted just 78 pink dolphins. Another endangered dolphin is China’s Baiji, also known as the Yangtze River dolphin. Baiji are one of only two fresh water dolphin species in the world. They can be found only in China’s Yangtze River, but their endangered status makes them incredibly hard to find.
The endangered Chinese alligator is one of only two alligator species in the world. The Chinese alligator is a great deal smaller than the American alligator, but features the same armored skin. You can find the Chinese alligator hunting the wetlands of China’s Yangtze River, but rest assured alligators rarely see humans as prey. Alligators are known to disregard humans, unless they’re provoked. These alligators also have been known to take residence in ponds nearby the Yangtze River.
Chinese Water Deer
Like American deer, Chinese water deer have short tails, gray-brown fur and a white furry belly. Unlike American deer, they have large curved tusks and no antlers. They’re also smaller than American deer – so small that their newborn babies can be held in the palm of a human hand. The average adult Chinese water deer weighs just 28 pounds. They reside in east-central China’s swampy regions, among the tall reeds, like those in the lower Yangtze Basin. Although they prefer to sleep on solid ground, these deer swim in the water whenever they need to use it for travel.
The Chinese red-crowned crane is the only crane species known to have white primary feathers. These special birds make their home in China’s coastal marshes, rivers and rice paddies. They feed on frogs and fish. Nests are built in shallow water or on wet ground. These birds are at home in cold temperatures and prefer the feel of water over dry land.
- Hong Kong Traveler: Pink Dolphins
- Huffington Post: Hong Kong Risks Losing ‘Pink Dolphins’ Because of China’s Pollution, Conservationists Warn
- NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources: Chinese River Dolphin
- Saint Louis Zoo: Chinese Alligator
- Animal Diversity Web: Chinese Water Deer
- International Crane Foundation
Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.