Kiang, Equus kiang, Tibetan Plateau, 2015

I have been to China several times but feel I have barely scratched the surface.  The country is huge, of course, and hugely diverse. My travel there, especially my 2005 expedition to see Giant Pandas, and my 2015 trip to the Tibetan plateau, has given me some of my very best mammal watching.

Shaanxi Province

Giant Panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Qinling Mountains, 2005

The Qinling Mountains

During a week in October 2005 I saw a Giant Panda, Golden Snubnosed Monkeys, Golden Takins, Eastern Gray Gorals, Serow, Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel, Pere David’s Rock Squirrels, Swinhoe’s Striped Tree Squirrels, Mole Shrews, Confucian Nivenventers and a Chevrier’s Field Mouse. See my 2005 Trip Report below.

Qinghai Province and the Tibetan Plateau

Chinese Red Pika, Ochotona erythrotis brookei, in southern Qinghai

In October 2015 I spent 2 weeks on the Tibetan plateau. I saw Gansu Pikas, Black-lipped Pikas, Chinese Red Pika (as well as the subspecies formerly known as Glover’s Pika), Blyth’s Mountain Voles, Irene’s Mountain Voles, Woolly Hares, Himalayan Marmots, a Mid-day Jird, a Plateau Zokor, Pallas’ Cats, Tibetan Foxes, Red Foxes, Gray Wolves, Mountain Weasela, an Alpine Musk Deer, Thorold’s (White-lipped) Deer, Red Deer (both Kansu and MacNeill’s subspecies), Eastern (Siberian) Roe Deer, Goitered Gazelles, Tibetan Gazelles, Przewalski’s Gazelles, Tibetan Antelope (Chiru), Argali, Blue Sheep (Bharal), Wild Yaks and Kiang. See my 2015 Trip Report below.

Wild Yak, Bos mutus, the Roof of the World, Qinghai, 2015

Sichuan Province

Golden Takin, Budorcas tibetana, Tangjiahe, 2009

In April 2009 during a week I visited three sites.

Wawu Shan. Three nights in April 2009 produce Complex-toothed Flying Squirrels, Perny’s Long-nosed Squirrels, South-China Field Mice, Korean Field Mice, a Sichuan Chinese Vole, a Pere David’s VoleChestnut White-bellied Rats, Chinese Mole Shrew, and Lesser Striped Shrews. See my 2009 Trip Report below.

Emei Shan. Three hours in April 2009 found Tibetan Macaques. See my 2009 Trip Report below.

Tangjiahe Reserve. Four nights in April 2009 got Pere David’s Rock Squirrels, Korean Field Mice, Pearson’s Horseshoe Bats, Himalayan (Masked) Palm Civets, a Leopard Cat, Wild Boar, Tufted Deer, Reeves Muntjaks, Golden Takin, Eastern Gray Gorals and Serows. See my 2009 Trip Report below.

Tibetan Gazelle, Gazella picticaudata, Qinghai

Community Reports

The World’s Best Mammalwatching

China is another vast country with brilliant mammalwatching. The Tibetan plateau and Sichuan for instance are stellar destinations, where the mammalwatching seem to get better each year. But my first trip to China, to the Qinling Mountains in 2005, stands above all others. At the time it was one of the most adventurous trips I’d taken and my report was in fact the first one I published on That reserve, now sadly closed to tourists, is a beautiful, beautiful place that’s home to Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys, Golden Takin and of course Giant Pandas. Nearly 15 years later I can still remember the excitement of finally seeing one.  The reason I saw so much there was entirely due to the remarkable talents of Mr Zhang and Mr He, two park rangers who had a sixth – and seventh – sense for finding mammals.  See more of the World’s Best Mammalwatching.

Community Reports

Qinghai Snow Leopards, 2024: Sid Francis, 9 days & 10 species including TIbetan Antelope, Pallas’s Cat and Snow Leopard.

Giant Panda Expedition to Sichuan, 2023/24: Lennart Verheuvel, 19 days and 21 species including Red Panda, Forest Musk Deer, Tibetan Gazelle and Giant Panda. Fantastic reading and wonderful photos.

Yunnan Primates, 2023: Sichao Ma’s report of two short trips to Yunnan, with 7 species including Skywalker and Black-crested Gibbons, Shan State Langur and Yunnan Snubnosed Monkey.

Sichuan and Qinghai, 2023: Ian Thompson and Tracey Watchurst, 3 weeks & 55 species including Forest & Alpine Musk Deer, Hog & Asian Badger, Chindwin Flying Squirrel and much more,

North West China, 2023: China Mammal Tour, 3 weeks & 25 species including 3 Snow Leopards, Pallas’s Cat, Chinese Mountain Cat, Brown (Tibetan Blue) Bear, Tibetan Antelope, Wild Yak and Sichuan (Golden) Snub-nosed Monkey.

Qinghai (Valley of the Cats), 2023: Stuart Chapman with Royle Safaris, 2 weeks & 23 species including Blue Bear, Snow Leopard, Alpine Musk Deer & Pallas’s Cats.

Shiqu County, Sichuan, 2021China Mammal Tour, 12 days &  20 species including Hog Badger, Chinese Mountain Cat, Snow LeopardPallas’s Cat and Lynx.

Qinghai, 2020: Zhou Fangyi, 7 days & 15 species including Lynx and Blue (Brown) Bear within 10 minutes of each other!

Sichuan and the Tibetan  Plateau, 2020:   China Mammal Tour, 3 weeks & 29 species including Snow Leopard, two separate LynxBrown BearPallas’s Cat and Sillem’s Rosefinch (which I gather is an exciting bird …).

Sichuan, 2020: some notes about sightings that are helpful to anyone visiting independently. Observations include Red and Giant Pandas at Labahe and Black Bear.

Xinjiang, 2019: Kevin Zhong, 5 days & Siberian Ibex, Goitred Gazelle,Kulan and Przewalski’s Horse.

Qinghai and the Tibetan Plateau, 2019: Kevin Zhong, 19 days & many species including Snow Leopard, Pallas’s Cat, Alpine Musk Deer andArgali.

Sichuan, 2019: Naturetrek, 15 days & 33 species including Hog Badger, Red Panda, Tibetan Gazelle, Forest Musk Deer & Small-toothed Ferret Badger.

Sinjiangyuan Reserve, Tibetan Plateau, 2019: William Boehm’s account of a fabulous 2 week trip deep into Tibet with Snow LeopardBrown (Himalayan Blue) Bear and Pallas’s Cat.

Sichuan, 2019WildWings, 2 weeks & 33 mammals including Tibetan GazelleChinese Ferret Badger and Pallas’s Cat.

Sichuan and the Tibetan Plateau, 2019: Sophie and Manuel Baumgartner,  40 days & 61 species including Golden CatSnow Leopard & a non-snowy Leopard (japonensis ssp), both Pandas plus Brown and Black Bears!

Hexigten (north of Beijing), 2019: Zhou Fangyi, 4 days & 13 species including Steppe PolecatAsian BadgerNorthern Chinese Flying Squirrel and Daurian Ground Squirrel.

Qinghai, 2019: Jan Kelchtermans’ report featuring some very good mammals including Snow Leopard, Pallas’s Cat and Lynx.

Sichuan, 2019: Samuel Marlin, 2 weeks & 27 species including Black BearAsian and Hog-nosed BadgersLong-nosed Mole and both Pandas!

Sichuan, April 2019: Travelling Naturalist, 2 weeks & 25 species including Chinese Mountain Cat, Red Panda and Tibetan Gazelle.

Sichuan, March 2019: Royle Safari’s record of 2 weeks & 44 species including Giant and Red Panda, Pallas’s CatChinese Mountain Cat, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey and Chinese Ferret Badger.

Qinghai and Sichuan, 2018: Ewan Davies, 13 days & 27 species including Alpine Musk Deer, Chinese Goral and Snow Leopard.

Yunnan (Dwarf Bharal Tour), 2018: Ralf Bürglin, 10 days & 4 species including Chinese Goral and Dwarf Bharal.

Sichuan, 2018: Rauno Väisänen, 2 weeks & 40 species including Red Panda, Asiatic Black Bear, Hog Badger and (drum roll) Giant Panda.

Sichuan and the Tibetan Plateau, 2018: John Wright, 3 weeks & 54 species including Red PandaPallas’s and Chinese Mountain CatsEurasian LynxHog and Asian BadgersAlpine Musk Deer and Takin.

Sichuan, October 2018: Travelling Naturalist, 2 weeks & 36 species including Asiatic Black Bear, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey and Siberian Weasel.

Qinghai, 2018: Romain Bocquier, 7 days & 14 species including Pallas’s Cats and Snow Leopards.

Snow Leopards in Qinghai, 2017: Geraint “Sid” Francis’s note on watching Snow Leopards in China.

Sichuan, 2017: Janco van Gelderen, 3 weeks & 35 (or so) species including Asian and Hog BadgersChinese Mountain and Pallas’s Cats and Red Panda.

Sichuan, 2017: Richard Webb (Wildwings), 2 weeks & 36 species including Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys, Grey-headed Flying Squirrel, Pallas’s and Chinese Mountain Cat, Steppe Polecat, Red Panda and Hog, Asian and Chinese Ferret Badgers.

Qinghai, 2017: Richard Webb, 2 weeks & 13 species including Yellow-throated MartenMountain Weasel and three Snow Leopards.

Labahe Nature Reserve, 2016: Andy Reeve, 6 days & 9 mammals including Red Panda and Hog Badger.

Tibetan Plateau & Sichuan, 2016: Stefan Lithner, 24 days & over 50 species including Steppe Polecat, Red Panda, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey and Pallas’s Cat.

Tibetan Plateau, 2016: David Bishop, 1 month (primarily birding) & 23 mammal species including Wolf and Hog Badger. A day to day account is here.

Sichuan and Shaanxi, 2016: Justin Brown and Linden Stear’s links to YouTube videos plus notes of 29 species encountered in Sichuan and Shaanxi including Golden Snub-nosed Monkey, Forest Musk Deer and Pallas’s and Chinese Mountain Cats.

Red Panda’s in Sichuan, 2016: Hugh Landsdown’s report and pictures of a weekend looking for Red Pandas. Five species seen including Chinese Goral, Tibetan Macaque and Red Panda.

Labahe, Sichuan, 2016: Andy Reeve, 6 days & 9 species including Red Panda(s) and a Hog Badger.

Qinghai, 2016: Hugh Lansdown, 7 days & 14 species including Pallas’s Cat, Tibetan Antelope, Wild Yak and Asian Badger.

Sichuan, 2016: Romain Bocquier, 8 days & 35 species including Hog, Ferret and Asian Badgers, Pallas’s and Chinese Mountain Cats and Serow.

Tibet, 2016: Jean-Michel Bompar, 2 weeks & 20 species including Asian Badger and Snow Leopard. Great pictures too. (Note that Pika ID is very difficult and the Koslov’s Pika reported was a tentative ID based on the guide’s opinion).

Sichuan & Qinghai, 2016: Juan Luis Ortega Herranz, 17 days & 35 species including Chinese Mountain Cat, Pallas’s Cat, Tibetan Macaque, Hog, Asian and Chinese Ferret Badgers, Chinese Serow and many of the Tibetan specialities.

Sichuan & Qinghai, 2016: Nigel Goodgame, 22 days & 34 species including Chinese Mountain Cat, Pallas’s Cat, Asiatic Black Bear, Chinese Ferret Badger, Hog Badger, Takin and Tufted Deer.

Sichuan, 2016: Richard Webb, 1 week & 23 species including Pallas’s and Chinese Desert Cats, Hog Badger, Tufted Deer and Golden Snub-nosed Monkey.

Qinghai, China 2015: Jon Hall, 2 weeks & 26 species including Pallas’s Cat, Chinese Zokor and most of the Tibetan ungulates.

Tibet, 2015: Kevin Zhong, 2 weeks and species including most of the ungulates, Wolf and Tibetan Fox.

Tibet & Sichuan, 2015: Ian Green and Jesper Hornskov, 25 days & 46 species including Pallas’s Cat, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey and Hog Badger.

Sichuan, 2015: Phil Telfer, 9 days & 27 species on a very successful trip including Forest Musk Deer, Chinese Ferret Badger, Chinese Mountain Cat, Hog Badger and Golden Snub-nosed Monkey.

Sichuan, 2015: Paul Carter, 1 week & 29 species including Hog Badger, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Chinese Zokor, Chinese Desert Cat and Pallas’s Cat.

NE Tibet, 2015 (June/July): Jesper Hornskov, 21 days & 23 mammals including Alpine Musk Deer, Siberian Roe and Wolf.

NE Tibet, 2015 (May): Jesper Hornskov, 14 days & 25 mammals including Eurasian Otter, Wolf and Pallas’s Cat.

Tibet & Sichuan, 2014: Jesper Hornskov & Ian Green, 3 weeks & 45 species including most of the Tibetan specialties plus Asian, Hog and Ferret Badger, Asiatic Black Bear and a Grey-headed Flying Squirrel. (Note that there that Goral species seen was in fact Chinese, not Long-tailed).

Sichuan, 2014: Jo Dale, 2 weeks with some great species including Red Panda, Hog Badger and Chinese Desert Cat.

Tibetan Plateau, October 2014: Steve Davis’s excellent report of a 2 week trip featuring 25 species including Pallas’s Cat, Asian Badger and Wild Yak. Jesper Hornskov also sent an annotated list of mammals seen on the same trip and that is here.

Qinghai, August 2014: Sjef Ollers, 4 weeks and 24+ species including Pallas’s Cat, Alpine Musk Deer and Argali (with some highlights here).

Sichuan, 2014: Sjef Ollers, 2 weeks & 22+ species including Chinese Desert Cat, Forest Musk Deer, Hog Badger and Serow (with some more discussion here).

NE Tibet, 2014 (August): Jesper Hornskov, 19 days & 25+ mammals including Siberian Roe & Alpine Musk Deers and Pallas’s Cat.

NE Tibet, 2014 (June): Jesper Hornskov, 19 days & 20+ mammals including Wild Yak and Prezwalski’s Gazelle.

Tibet, 2014: Charles Hood, a report of mammals seen on a birding trip. 19+ species including Pallas’s Cat.

China, 2014: Tomer Ben-Yehuda, 7 species seen on a non-mammal trip through China, including Tibetan Macaque.

East and South China, 2013: Hugh Buck, 3 weeks birding with only 8 species of mammal including Amur Hedgehog and White-headed Leaf Monkey. The weekend extension to the Takla Makan desert found another 3 species: Yarkand Hare, Long-tailed Marmot and Long-tailed Ground Squirrel.

Tibet, 2013: Jesper Hornskov, 16 days & 20 species including Pallas’s Cat and Prezwalski’s Gazelle.

Tibet, 2013 (Part 1): Eddie Game’s blog about a bike trip across the plateau, featuring a Tibetan Blue Bear.

Tibet, 2013 (Part 2): Eddie Game’s blog about a bike trip across the plateau, featuring Yaks, Chiru and Wolves.

Xinjiang, 2013: Coke Smith, a week or so & 9 species and a couple of subspecies. An extraordinary trip through some seriously remote country and incredible scenery. No camels, but species included Przewalski’s Horse, Great gerbil, Siberian Ibex and Goitred Gazelle.

Sichuan, 2013: Coke Smith, 3 days & 10 species including Golden Snub-nosed Monkey, Takin, Goral and Tufted Deer.

Hu Ping Shan National Reserve (Hunan), 2012: Jonathan Martinez, 2 weeks & 6 species including several Hog Badgers and Tufted Deer.

Sichuan, 2012: Richard Webb, 1week & 23 species including Pallas’s Cat, Red Panda, Chinese Serow, Chinese Goral and a dead Steppe Polecat. A great report from an exciting and insufficiently explored area.

Tibet, 2012: Jesper Hornskov, 12 days & 23 species including Pallas’s Cat, White-lipped Deer, Argali and Snow Leopard tracks.

Tibet, 2012: Coke Smith, 1 week & 18 species including Kiang, White-lipped Deer, Blue Sheep and Wild Yak (with a follow up here from March 2013 and Prezwalski’s Gazelles).

Tibet, 2012: Jesper Hornskov, 3 weeks & 17 mammals including White-lipped Deer.

Anhui, 2012: Coke Smith, 4 days & 6 species including Tibetan Macaque and Finless Porpoise.

Yunnan, 2012: Torbjorn and Carmen Lundqvist, 2 weeks & 11 species. Great report with rarities including Western Black-crested Gibbons, Payne’s Langurs and Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkeys.

Qinlings, 2011: Ralf Bürglin and an article with good photos (in German).

NE Tibet, 2011: Jesper Hornskov, 3 weeks & 29 species including Lynx, Asian Badger and Steppe Polecat.

Qinghai Province (Tibetan Plateau), 2011: Steve Davis, 2 weeks & 21 mammals including Thorold’s Deer and Prezwalski’s Gazelle.

The Qinlings, 2011: Sunday Times (UK newspaper) article about watching Giant Pandas by Stanley Johnson.

Sichuan, 2011: Richard Webb, 1 week & 9 species including Chinese Serow, Asiatic Black Bear and a Ganshu Mole.

Qinlings, 2011: Coke, Som and Cokie Smith, 1 very cold week, with Giant Panda, Takin and wonderful photos.

Yunnan, 2011: Coke, Som and Cokie Smith, 1 week & 12 species including Black-crested Gibbons, Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey and Phayre’s Langurs. Great area for mammals.

Qinling Mountains, 2010 : Indri Tours, 10 days & 11 species including Giant Pandas, Golden Takins and Common Goral.

Red Pandas at Wawu Shan, 2010: Sid and Maggie Francis.

Sichuan, April 2009: Jon Hall, 1 week & 21 species including Chinese Serow, Eastern Gray Goral, Tufted DeerComplex Toothed Flying Squirrel and some nice rodents.

Yunnan, 2009: Steve Anyon Smith, 1 month & 12 species, most of which were squirrels.

Yunnan, 2009: Dion Hobcroft, 2.5 weeks & 6 species, 5 of which were squirrels.

NE Tibet, 2008: Jesper Hornskov, 3 weeks & 22 species including Pallas’s Cat and Siberian Roe Deer.

Qinling Mountains, 2008 : Indri Tours, 10 days & 13 species including Giant Pandas, Golden Takins and Chinese Serow.

Northern Tibet, 2006: Jesper Hornskov, 1 weeks & 12 species including Goitred, Tibetan and Prezwalski’s Gazelles.

Qinling Mountains, 2006: Richard Webb, 2 weeks & 7 mammals including a Giant Panda.

Sichuan, 2006: Steve Anyon-Smith, 4 weeks & 22 mammals including Blue Sheep and a dead Red Panda.

Sichuan, 2006: Mark Van Beirs, 3 weeks & 16 mammals including a live Red Panda.

Giant Pandas in the Qinling Mountains, 2005: Jon Hall, 1 week & 12 species including Giant Panda, Golden Takin, Golden Snub-nosed Monkey and Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel.

Northern Tibet, 2005: Jesper Hornskov, 2 weeks & 14 species including Pallas’s Cat, Wild Yak, and Kiangs .

Quinghai (Tibet), 2005: Alain Guillemont, 11 days & 12 species including Pallas’s Cat, Yak and Argali.

Northern China and Tibet, 2004: Don Roberson, 3 weeks & 10 mammals.

Also See

Best places to see (really wild) Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys, June 2021

Leopard (yes Leopard not Snow Leopard) at Qinghai, China, November, 2019

Yangtze River Dolphin rediscovered, April, 2018

Pikas at Baxi Forest, Sichuan – which species? , April, 2018

Northern Chinese Flying Squirrel?, September, 2017

Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel?, September, 2017

Pallas’s Cats near Qinghai Lake , August, 2o16

Beidiahe Mammals & Amur Hedgehogs in Beijing , Sept, 2014

Why no more Panda Viewing? , Nov, 2013

Hog Badgers in Sichuan & Hunan , June, 2013

Wild Yaks in Tibet , Jan, 2013

RFI for Qinghai , Sept, 2012


Smith, A. T. and Xie, Y. (Eds) 2008. A guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton. This is the only guide to all the mammals of China. The illustrations and accounts seem excellent with enough information to identify just about any species encountered. In 2013 it was released as a pocket field guide.

Mammals of Beijing – a useful guide to mammals around China’s capital.

Mammals of Sichuan – an excellent website covering all of Sichuan’s mammals from the Burke Museum, University of Washington.

Bats in China is a great website in English covering all of China’s bats with pictures and echolocation call data.

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