As of one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world, China has, according to one measure, some 7,516 species of vertebrates including around 1,450 species of bird, more than 650 speices of mammal (Jiang et al. 2015), 462 species of reptile (Cai et al. 2015) and about 400 amphibian species (Fei et al. 2013). In terms of the number of species, China ranks third in the world in mammals, eighth in birds, seventh in reptiles and seventh in amphibians.

In each category, China is the most biodiverse country outside of the tropics.  Many species of animals are endemic to China, including the country's most famous wildlife, the Giant Panda. In all, about one-fourth of mammal species and two-thirds of amphibian species in China are endemic to the country.

Wildlife in China share habitat with and bear acute pressure from the world's largest population of humans. At least 840 animal species are threatened, vulnerable or in danger of local extinction in China, due mainly to human activity such as habitat destruction, pollution and poaching for food, fur and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine. Endangered wildlife is protected by law, and as of 2005, the country has over 2,349 nature reserves, covering a total area of 149.95 million hectares (578,960 square miles), about 15 percent of China's total land area.

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