Up close with Shennongjia's flora and fauna
More than a hundred years ago, the British botanist Henry Wilson came to Shennongjia and collected many species that had never been seen before in the West. Because of these discoveries, he was granted membership in the Royal Botanic Gardens. He said that far away in China there was a mysterious land called Shennongjia, the "Garden of Eden."
In 2016 Shennongjia was listed as a World Natural Heritage Site, essentially because of its rich resources in animal and plant species.
Shennongjia is the most complete altitudinal natural belt in the world. There are at least 3,767 vascular plant species and 590 temperate plant genera with 205 local endemic species, two endemic genera and 1,793 Chinese endemic species. Owing to the preservation of key ecosystems, a large number of rare animals such as the golden or Sichuan snub-nosed monkey have settled here. Shennongjia is also a paradise for a variety of insects. With a total of 4,365 species of insects found here, it is of great significance to zoologists and botanists alike.
Visiting famous rare animals and plants
animal parks, such as those for giant salamanders, sika deer, snakes, scorpions and Chinese bees. Famous rare animals and plants (or their specimens) can be found here.
Shennongjia Natural History Museum is a scenic area worth visiting. There are seven theme halls that deal with geology, rare stones, academic knowledge, painting and calligraphy, biology, scientific research, and folk customs. There are also service and support facilities such as the reception center, a wild man cave, a 4D and arc screen theater, and a tea gallery. Here you can find fossils that record the geological changes of Shennongjia, as well as specimens of rare plants and animals such as Chinese yews, dove trees, white-crowned long-tailed pheasants, leopard cats, golden cats, and golden monkeys. Swimming in the water are living fossils: dabry's sturgeons that originated in the Cretaceous period hundreds of millions of years ago, giant salamanders and allochroic salamanders.
Giant pandas at Guanmen Hill Scenic Area
What is remarkable is that you can also see giant pandas in the scenic area. Shennongjia National Park's Giant Panda Pavilion is located in Hongfeng Garden at the Rare Plant Protection Park of the Guanmen Hill Scenic Area. Two new villa-style pavilions are the home of the giant pandas. The facilities are surrounded by mountains and green trees, with a small stream flowing slowly in front of the gate. Currently, two giant pandas, named "Aoyun" and "Yunyun," are living here.
According to scholars from the College of Resources and Environment at Hubei University, a large amount of bamboo died in the Shennongjia area during the Song dynasty. As a result, most of the giant pandas living here were forced to move westward. Since the Ming and Qing dynasties, human activities have cut off animal migration routes between
Shennongjia and Sichuan & Chongqing. Because of this, the giant pandas disappeared from Shennongjia. In 1996 archaeologists discovered the incomplete fossils of pandas in the Hongping area of Shennongjia. Testing shows they date back 100,000 years.
Come into close contact with golden monkeys
Golden monkeys are Class I National Protected Endangered and Rare Animals. There are two major habitats for the golden monkey in the Shennongjia Forestry District: the Jinhouling Habitat and the Qianjiaping Habitat. The new census, launched in the fall of 2015, shows that the number of golden monkeys in Shennongjia has been reduced to less than 1,500.
Golden monkeys are migratory animals; they live in the forest, advancing one kilometer every day, eating while walking and playing. When tired they sleep in the trees. After waking up, they will eat, walk and play again. If attacked or frightened, the monkeys will abruptly change their behavior and begin a long-distance emergency journey, running for about 18 kilometers a day.
Golden monkeys often hang out in the area of Dalong Pond and Xiaolong Pond. If you are lucky enough, you can see them playing in the mountains and forests. You can also witness them being fed by staff in the Golden Monkey Rescue and Domestication Base.
In the Xiaolong Pond area there is a science education and research base that displays the unique ecological environment and resources of Shennongjia and carries out an environmental and ecotourism educational program. In the Golden Monkey Rescue and Domestication Base, visitors can come into close contact with monkeys that have lost the ability to survive in the wild.
Giant panda in Guanmen Hill Scenic Area
Golden monkey at Xiaolong Pond
Botanical pavillon in Shennongjia Natural History Museum
Deer in Guanmen Hill Scenic Area
Natural Ecology Museum