In summer 2017, I went on a two-week long field trip to Wolong Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China, networking with collaborators while paying a special attention to wildlife habitat and human activities in the area. Localities covered in this trip include Sanchagou (三岔沟), Niutoushan (牛头山), Wuyipeng-Erdaoping-Choushuigou (五一棚-二道坪-臭水沟) and Balangshan (巴朗山). Take a look at some interesting photos from this field trip!
Wuyipeng Research Station (五一棚科研基地) is a world-renowned field station for giant panda research. I stayed for two nights at the station, imagining how previous giant panda researchers used to work there.
Animal feces from various herbivorous, carnivorous and omnivorous species are found in Wolong Nature Reserve. Left: giant panda feces near Wuyipeng (relatively old). Middle: red panda feces in Sanchagou (fresh). Right: sambar feces in Choushuigou (very fresh).
Wildlife resource harvesting is one of the potential concerns about Wolong Nature Reserve. Left: Gastrodia elata，referred to as “Tianma (天麻)” by the locals, is a highly sought-after plant for use in Chinese medicine, which is believed to be a treatment for headache. This plant was found in Niutoushan. Right: an alpine stream salamander (Batrachuperus tibetanus) found in Balangshan at an altitude of around 4,500m. This species is harvested by local people for use in Chinese medicine. It takes approximately 7 years for this high-altitude species to reach maturity. Dried alpine stream salamanders are referred to as “Qianghuoyu (羌活鱼)” by the locals, which are sold at a surprisingly low price of around CNY ¥1 each.
Livestock grazing and human-wildlife conflict are intense in certain areas within the reserve. Left: a herd of cattle near Sanchagou (三岔沟). The cow in the front looked eagerly at us for salt, which the owners feed them regularly. Right: Jinyan Huang (黄金燕) from China Giant Panda Conservation Research Center examining signs of wild boars on a pasture near Sanchagou.
A model showing topography and development of the area in the Wolong Museum of Natural History and Earthquakes (卧龙自然与地震博物馆).