When people look at Shanghai, they often see a fast-paced, modern
city, a skyline made of concrete and steel that captures an endless
amount of opportunities.
Only on rare occasions do people get to see, quite literally, the wild side of Shanghai.
the concrete jungle, wildlife preservation specialists and concerned
residents have taken measures to protect what’s left of the megacity’s
nature and are now offering a new glimpse at Shanghai’s untamed corners.
habitats have been diminished in most of the city and once endemic
species have been pushed to the rural outskirts. However, in 2015, this
series traveled to areas most are unfamiliar with to discover a
different side of Shanghai — from cranes dancing in the winter to
alligators swimming in summer, from mellow, yellow reeds to small violet
blossoms. With a bit of luck, one may even spot a water deer leaping in
forest parks. The four seasons bring about huge changes in wildlife
populations and forest foliage, each providing a transient opportunity
to discover a different Shanghai.
For the last issue in 2015, we have selected each season’s top destination.
Spring Tianma Mountain
only about 11 kilometers from Songjiang District, Tianma Mountain is
one of the favorite destination for runners in Shanghai. The name
Tianma, a Chinese name that translates into sky horse, some consider it
as a reference to the shape of the mountain.
The mountain is the
highest point of altitude in Shanghai and the largest in area among all
12 mountains of the Sheshan Mountain range.
The rich natural
vegetation resources of Tianma Mountain turns the place into a green
paradise in spring where one can take a deep breath and smell the
freshness of grass, flowers and trees.
The paved trails are narrow
and surrounded by trees and bushes. While hiking to reach the
mountaintop, one can overlook a corner of the city as well as the
Summer Dianshan Lake
Lake in Qingpu District is not only a destination for water sports, but
also has a wetland area that’s ideal to avoid the summer heat.
to the public in 2012, Dianshan Lake wetland is the largest lake-type
wetland in Shanghai and connects Dianshan Lake with the Huangpu River.
As one of the major ecological restoration projects in Shanghai, the
marsh now presents a natural wetland landscape with different plant
species as well as birds like egrets and wild ducks.
In the 1980s,
due to the lack of drainage technology, the low-lying areas were
flooded all year long and couldn’t grow crops. The forestry station in
Qingpu then decided to plant pond cypresses in the areas, which has
grown into an overwater forest in about three decades.
Autumn Gongqing Forest Park
outing in autumn is all about the colorful foliage. One of the best
places to be during this time of the year is the Gongqing Forest Park,
which has largest number of tree species with leaves in different
Since 1999, the park has been hosting special exhibitions
of chrysanthemum flowers each November. In addition to the hundreds of
pots of different species of chrysanthemum, park management also planted
large amounts of flowers around the park, including coreopsis and
The park is also a popular place for migratory
birds who seek to rest during their annual journey to the warmer parts
of the world.In late autumn, when most trees have put on their autumn
foliage, Gongqing Forest Park turns into a colorful see of vibrant
yellow, red and brown leaves stacked on the ground.
Winter Chongming Dongtan
on Chongming Island shows the beauty of desolation, but nature is never
colorless. The mudflat in Dongtan wetland is full of grandeur when
sunshine scatters on the ground and on the tidal creek, and in the reed
marshes one may find flocks of wild ducks and mandarin ducks.
wetland is also home to the hooded crane, one of the world’s smallest
cranes. Each year, a flock of less than 100 hooded cranes arrive in
Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve, a safe haven established in
1998 where they spent the winter.
There are also many common cranes as well as other bird species which winter in Dongtan.
visitors cannot go inside the nature reserve to see the cranes, they
can learn about the animals and ecological environment of the wetland at
the science museum located in Dongtan.