Shanghai wildlife on show at museum


An exhibition displaying local wildlife is on at the Shanghai Natural History Museum.

The exhibition, running through November 28, introduces the city’s insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds, allowing people to savor the city’s natural charm and providing food for thought about how to make space for wildlife in urban areas.

Chirping insects, croaking frogs and singing birds are among the wildlife species nearest to human beings, but few people are aware of how urbanization threatens them.

Not only endangered species such as the panda and tiger, but also small creatures around us need protection, according to He Xin from the museum.

Amphibians are among the species most affected by urban sprawl. Of nearly 7,000 amphibians in the world, nearly one-third are facing extinction, and numbers of many more are shrinking. In Shanghai, there were 11 frog species in the 1980s; that fell to eight in the 1990s and only six now.

Reptiles, however, face a worse plight, according to He.

Reptiles prefer warm places, and Shanghai is not ideal for them. As modern structures keep springing up, covering the city’s landscape, the habitat for reptiles is shrinking.

Birds are lucky. Shanghai now has 504 bird species, accounting for one-third of the country’s total, thanks to years of effort in restoring wetlands, zoning natural reserves and building parks and green lands, He said.

In March 2018, a rarely seen black-throated loon was spotted on the lake in Pudong’s Century Park. Instead of the coast, the Arctic Circle bird chose to moult in downtown.