Beijing is an intensely urban environment with a population of over 17 million people living in a dense concentration of courtyards, hutongs and modern high rises. Even so, there are opportunities to see and enjoy wildlife both within the city and in the surrounding areas.

Many of Beijing’s popular parks have enclosures with peacocks and other birds. One of the largest enclosures is at Xiangshan Park (where) which has a huge collection of birds. In Taoranting Park (where) visitors can see uncaged peacocks roaming freely.

Just outside Beijing in the southern marshes is Milu Park (Milu Yuan), an ecological research center located in an area where emperors used to hunt deer, pheasants and rabbits. Visitors come to see the Pere David deer (milu) which were hunted to near extinction by the end of the Qing dynasty. Milu were reintroduced to China in 1985 from the descendents of a small collection of deer that had been taken to Europe in the 1800s. The milu population is now gradually recovering and some have returned to the wild in the areas around the park. The marshes of Milu Yuan are also a wonderful place to see migratory birds. The World Extinct Wildlife Cemetery in the park is thought-provoking.

(Red-crowned Cranes) Red-crowned Cranes

Other areas around Beijing where visitors can see wild animals and birds are the Song Shan Forest Tourist Area, a forested nature reserve in Zhang Shan Ying, and the Tao Yuan Xian Valley Natural Scenic Area near the village of Shi Cheng. Some of the forested areas around Beijing are home to snakes, including the banded red snake and the poetically-named tiger-striped neck groove snake.

The Beijing Wildlife Park has established an earthquake monitoring system using the behavior of some of the animals in the park to predict impending seismic activity.

The Beijing Zoo, Beijing Aquarium and the Blue Zoo are also places to see animals and birds in the area around Beijing.