Shennongjia Nature Preserve
Shennongjia Nature Reserve is located in eastern Hubei province, in China. The name Shennongjia translates to "Shennong's Ladder." The name comes from the mythological emperor Shennong, who visited the mountains searching for precious herbs and would use a ladder to collect them. The forest is a treasure trove of plants and wildlife — protecting one of the most extensive primary forests remaining in Central China while providing a habitat for many rare animal species. On the 17th of July, 2016, SHennongjia Nature Reserve was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, becoming the 50th World Heritage Site in China. If you're planning on visiting the Shennongjia Nature Reserve, here are a few things you can expect:
The mountains in the reserve are karstic — formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. This makes the mountains resemble gigantic sponges with cavities that are as big as your finger- and some that are the size of caves!
The highest mountain in the scenic area is the Shennongding Peak, which is 10,188 feet above sea level.
There are many unique caves that you can visit as well. The Icy Cave is always icy, the Swallow Cave is home to thousands of swallows, the Flood Cave floods three times a day, and the Fish Cave is home to hundreds of fish species.
Plants and Wildlife
The Shennongjia Reserve is home to many different species of plants. Flowers blossom out of every corner of the forest. The forest is a natural garden for precious herbs — with over two thousand kinds of herbs.
You'll also get to see many rare species of trees, clear streams, and grand waterfalls in the wild. Apart from the rich plant life, the dense forests are home to many different animal species.
Some rare and endangered animals include the Sichuan Snub-nosed Monkey (or Golden Monkey), Clouded Leopard, Asian Golden Cat, Asian Black Bear, Chinese Goral, Chinese Serow, Musk Deer, Golden Eagle, and the world's largest amphibian, the Chinese Giant Salamander.
Other peculiar animal species can be found in the forest. For instance, albino species such as the White Bear, White Deer, White Snake, and even White toads have been discovered.
Stories of The Yeren
Shennongjia is also famously known to be home to the "Yeren" or Wild Man. There have been many records of the Wild Man in ancient Chinese books. Many people have claimed to see the Wild Man.
The Yeren has been described as over 6 ft. tall and covered head to toe by reddish-brown hair (much like "Bigfoot"). There have been research studies, but there's very little evidence to prove that the Yeren is real! However, people still believe and hope to one day catch the Wild Man.
The best time to visit Shennongjia Nature Reserve is from May to October. However, the winter is also a great time to visit. Not only will the scenery of the forest change, but you'll be able to pick from two ski resorts that open in the winter. Visiting the Shennongjia Nature Reserve is an incredible experience for any nature lover. On visiting the reserve, you'll be exposed to an impressive array of flora and fauna, along with many experiences that are unique to Shennongjia.