Blue Sheep

Scientific Name: Pseudois nayaur

Classification: ARTIODACTYLA Bocidae

Protection Class:National Class II

Size: body length 100-155cm, male weight 50-80kg, female weight 32-51kg

Blue sheep are preys of snow leopards and are very common in Angsai. They often occur in herds, sometimes up to 200 in a group. The large population of blue sheep here provides a rich source of food for snow leopards.

Blue sheep are herbivores that live near - and mainly below - the snow line. They are agile in steep bare rock environments, have excellent jumping and climbing abilities, and their coats provide good camouflage in alpine bare rock and screes. It is because of these skills that blue sheep distinguish their range from other herbivores (white-lipped deer, marmots, woolly hare, and pikas) and occupy their unique position in the ecological system.


White-lipped Deer

Scientific Name: Cervus albirostris

Classification: ARTIODACTYLA Cervidae

Protection Class: National Class I

Size: body length 155-210cm, male weight 180-230kg

The white-lipped deer is the deer species that lives at the highest-altitude in the world and is endemic to China, and is distributed only on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. White-lipped deer have the iconic white lips, snout and lower jaw, which is where the name comes from.

White-lipped deer are widely distributed in Angsai and have a high sighting rate. In addition to traversing the forests on both sides of the river, they also rest in large groups in high mountain meadows at higher elevations to feed. For most hoofed species, the rut is not in the spring, but in the fall and winter. They will then give birth in the spring and summer, and the white-lipped deer is no exception. In the summer, the antlers are still growing, by the fall and winter, the antlers will slowly become ossified and are just in time to be used in fighting. Every spring, the bucks and does will separate into different groups. The does go to give birth, and the bucks’ antlers will also fall off during this time.

白唇鹿 李语秋 5 2021.5.jpg

Musk Deer

Scientific Name: Moschus chrysogaster

Classification: ARTIODACTYLA Moschidae

Protection Class: National Class I

Size: body length 80-90cm, weight 9-13kg

The moschidae looks like a deer, but diverged from it early during the evolution. In contrast to many deer (Cervidae family), males of the Moschidae family do not have horns, but have long, sharp "fangs". Their forelimbs are shorter than their hind limbs, making their body shape appear higher at the hip than at the shoulder, a characteristic common to all musk species. The musk deer is the larger of the Moschidae family. It has two lighter colored dirty white to dirty yellow longitudinal stripes starting at the throat and extending down to the thorax where they meet. The ears are large and long, resembling a big, fat rabbit from a distance.

The musk deer are more frequent sighted in the morning and evening in Angsai. The musk deer prefer highland areas with bushes or coniferous forests as well as bare rocks and screes, so they are well adapted to the ecological environment of the Angsai area. They mainly feed on grasses and shrub leaves, and occasionally mosses and lichens. They are solitary, shy and wary, preferring morning and evening activities. Musk deer have a fixed home range, with males using their droppings and secretions to mark their territory. In Sanjiangyuan, musk deer are preyed upon by a variety of predators, including leopards, wolves, red foxes, lynxes, yellow-throated martens, etc.



Plateau PikaOchotona curzoniae  |    Glover's PikaOchotona gloveri

Classification: LAGOMORPHA  Ochotonidae

Protection Class N/A

Size: body length 140-200mm  |  160-250mm

Is a pika a rodent or a lagomorph? It is actually just a type of lagomorph that looks like a rodent and can be considered the smallest lagomorph in the world. There are two types of pikas in the Angsai area, the Plateau pika and glover’s pika. Glover’s pika prefers rocks and plateau pika prefers grasslands. Among them, Glover’s pikas are mostly found in the Danxia landform area of Niandu Village. Their large red ears and gray back fur mixed with reddish brown color both make them blend well into the gray and red mixed rocks. The plateau pika is only distributed near a few homes in the Reqing Village of Angsai because the pastures there are gentler and have no obvious Danxia landform features. Here the plateau pika can hide itself better than the Glover’s pika, and does not need to learn to climb rocks to survive, as long as it can make holes and run close to the ground.

In places where pasture degradation is severe, pikas are often considered the culprits of the scourge and responsible for the loss of the meadows. The truth is that people have misunderstood the cause-and-effect relationship between pasture and pikas. When grasslands are degraded for various reasons (e.g. over-harvesting, over-grazing, climate change, etc.), pikas make their homes there because the land is soft and easy to burrow. The pikas are wrongly blamed for the degradation of grasslands, but they are actually the key to ecological stability. The pikas, like marmots, play an important role as food for all carnivores, from small skunks to the two big cat species.

Above: Plateau Pika  |  Below: Glover's Pika

高原鼠兔 黄裕炜.jpg


Himalayan Marmot

Scientific Name: Marmota himalayana

Classification: RODENTIA  Sciuridae

Protection Class: N/A

Size: male body length 47-67cm, female body length 45-52cm; male weight 6000g, female weight 5000g

Many people may not be familiar with marmots, but the groundhog must be known to all. Marmots are a group of what we commonly call groundhogs. They are large rodents that are so closely related to squirrels that they can be thought of as “ground squirrels.” Marmots in Angsai are Himalayan marmots that are widespread on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and range in color from bright ochre yellow to ochre yellow-red-brown. The entire back of the body is a mixture of light yellow and black. It feeds on roots, stems and leaves of the grass, sedge and legume families, and also on small animals.

The Himalayan marmot is perhaps the only species that is guaranteed to be sighted in Angsai (except during the hibernation period from November-February). They are very easy to find: when you see little yellow bales on the side of the road that start rolling and running, you don't have to look very hard to know it’s a marmot running wild. However, as a rodent, the marmot is one of the natural hosts of the plague, so you would not touch a marmot with hands.


Woolly Hare

Scientific Name: Lepus oiostolus

Classification: LAGOMORPHA   Leporidae

Protection Class: N/A

Size: weight 2-4kg, body length 40-55cm

The woolly hare is the largest of the Chinese hares and is widely distributed on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. They are also known as "gray-tailed hares" because their most distinctive feature is their short, mostly gray hips. Their thick fur and thick undercoat can withstand the cold of the plateau, but their biggest difference between them and hares on the plain is still their bulging eyes.

Walking in the mountains, you will occasionally encounter some panicked woolly hares. They may be startled by the sudden appearance of you, and then start to run away in a panic. Sometimes they may also freeze suddenly, thinking that you will not notice them. Woolly hares prefer to live in flat areas with shrubs, which are also places that lynx frequently appears.