Home>> Giant Pandas>>Qinling Mountains

Qinling Mountains- Habitat of Giant Panda

The Qinling Mountains are a major east-west mountain range in southern Shaanxi province, China. The mountains provide a natural boundary between the North and South of the country, and support a huge variety of plant and wildlife, some of which is found nowhere else on Earth.

To the north is the densely populated Wei River valley, an ancient center of Chinese civilization. To the south is the Han River valley. To the west is the line of mountains along the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. To the east are the lower Funiu Shan and Dabie Shan which rise out of the coastal plain.

The Northern side of the range is prone to hot weather, however the physical barrier of the mountains mean that the land to the North enjoys a semi-arid climate, with the lack of rich, fertile landscape can not support a wealth of wildlife. The mountains also acted as a natural defense against nomadic invasions from the North, as only four passes cross the mountains. In the late 1990s a railway tunnel and a spiral was completed, thereby easing travel across the range. The highest mountain in the range is Mount Taibai, (3,767 metres), which is around 100 kilometres West of the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an and is the highest mountain in eastern China. Mount Hua (2155 metres), Mount Li (1302 metres) and Mount Maiji (1742 metres) make up the three other significant peaks in the range.

Giant Pandas in Qingling Mountains

The Qinling panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca qinlingensis) is a subspecies of the giant panda, named by science in 2005. Disregarding the nominate subspecies, it is the first giant panda subspecies to be recognized. It differs from the more familiar nominate subspecies by its smaller skull and dark brown and light brown (rather than black and white) fur. There are an estimated 200ĘC300 Qinling pandas living in the wild.It is also smaller than other pandas. This subspecies is restricted to the Qinling Mountains, at elevations of 1,300-3,000 metres (4,300-9,800 ft).

The Qinling Mountains, in the Shaanxi Province, forms a natural barrier between northern and southern China and protects the south from the cold northern weather and warm rains on the southern slopes support a rich variety of plants and animals.

It is an important watershed for China as a drop of rain in the Qinling Mountains, could end up in one of country's two great rivers, the Yangtze or the Yellow.