By Xinyi Li, Video Zhangdeng, iChongqing
Chongqing- Chongqing Zoo was established in 1953 and opened to the public in 1955. It is an important base for conservation and a significant site for scientific research on wild animals. Meanwhile, it is also a classroom for the popularization of science, publicity and education, and a beautiful garden for the public. Over 4,000 animals in 230 varieties are on exhibition all year around. As one of the large zoos in China, Chongqing Zoo receives nearly 2 million tourists annually, including 100 thousand foreign visitors.
Luxuriant trees and varied vegetation turn the zoo into a land with the ratio of green space of 71% and the green coverage rate of 85%. Based on the classification of animals, it has 8 functional areas and 11 predatory bird halls.
A 230-square-meter science popularization classroom stands beside the Children’s Park. Kids aging 3-12 can participate in activities held there, such as watching animal popularization movies, cutting papers, drawing on masks, enjoying specimen exhibition, and reading animal popularization books for free. Chongqing Zoo intends to improve people’s understanding of animals and encourage them to protect the ecological environment, via demonstrating and explaining animals’ habitats, physical characteristics, and living habits.
In addition to fierce animals, there are also docile and small animals, which visitors can have fun with them. The most two impressive animals in Chongqing Zoo are pandas and clouded leopards.
Xin Xing, the grandmother of all captive pandas, was born in Sichuan’s Baoxing County 37 years ago. A year later, she was taken to the Panda House of Chongqing Zoo where she still lives today.
Although living healthily with a good appetite, Xin Xing is old and thus seldom meets visitors. According to the zoo, one panda year is the equivalent of three years in the human world. Therefore, Xin Xing is about 110 years old, like a grandma in the human world, which makes her the oldest of its kind in the world. Xin Xing has produced over 110 offspring, including Ling Ling, Ya Ya, Mang Zai living in the Chongqing Zoo now.
The clouded leopard is of intermediate size, comparable to leopards, such as leopard (Panthera pardus) and snow leopard (Panthera uncia), and a small leopard of marbled cat. Its legs are short, stout, but agile with broad paws. Moreover, clouded leopard has a thick tail nearly as long as the head and body. The head is roughly rounded, and the mouth and nose are protruding. The patterns of its coat with cloud-like patterns with dark outlines and lighter centers on a yellow background. Since clouded leopard has unique patterns, thus giving the clouded leopard its name.
The clouded leopard has amazing tree climbing abilities, which allows it to rest and pray on trees. However, they prefer to forage for food on the ground. The thick and long tail enables it to skillfully balance on thin tree branches. Resting in the day, the animal generally hunts at night, with peaks of activity at dusk and dawn. Therefore, visitors might wait until night to observe the clouded leopard.
Special living habits make the animal unknown to many people, leading to unreliable estimation of its number. But the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned that the total number, less than 10,000, is continuously decreasing. The main threats to the clouded leopard are habitat loss through deforestation and illegal hunting for its teeth and bones for Chinese traditional medicine. Wild clouded leopards are rare to be seen, while captive ones can only be found in Chongqing Zoo in mainland China.
Address: NO.1 Xijiao Village, Jiulongpo District
Opening time: 07:00-18:00
Price: RMB 25/person in peak season and RMB 20/person in offseason