Red-Crowned Crane in Zhalong Wetland NNR, China. Credit: Roy Lowe

Credit: Roy Lowe

China is home to one-fifth of the world’s people, who are all living in a nation only slightly larger than the United States. China's diverse ecosystems provide habitat for about 10% of the Earth’s wildlife, some of which is found nowhere else, including the giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey.

China’s rapidly developing economy and growing population are placing greater demands on its wildlife and natural resources. In the past half century, 10 animal species and 200 plant species have become extinct. Another 20 birds or mammals are on the verge of extinction; some 400 more animal species are threatened or endangered, as are 4,000 higher plant species.

The East Asia program works with the Chinese government and other East Asian countries to promote dialogue on issues of conservation of natural resources. The program coordinates technical exchanges to address the illegal wildlife trade, protect giant pandas and other key species, carry out the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and preserve natural habitats.

Examples include:

  • Engaging forums for American and Chinese biologists to exchange information on how to better manage wetlands and terrestrial and aquatic habitat.
  • Supporting USFWS staff to work with Chinese wildlife managers in such places as the Chebaling National Nature Reserve in Jilin Province and Futian Mangrove-Bird Reserve in Guangdong Province.
  • Sharing lessons learned from efforts to reintroduce the endangered black-footed ferret, improve Atlantic salmon stock in New England and restore coastal wetlands in Oregon.
  • Coordinating with Japan on implementing a convention to protect migratory birds and birds in danger of extinction. This work benefits species such as shorebirds and the critically endangered short-tailed albatross.
  • Supporting the work of the Saiga Conservation Alliance in work across Russia, Mongolia and China to improve law enforcement and monitoring of the critically endangered saiga antelope.