by Maimouna Kante
Jiuzhai Valley National Park is a natural reserve located in central China in the county of Jiuzhaigou in the northern part of Sichuan Province. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the forest is 72,000 hectares and filled with a wide diversity of flora and fauna. It is comprised of the dissolution of several rocks by glacial, tectonic and hydrological activity.
Some of their popular mammals are the giant pandas, takins and golden monkeys. These are also China’s very treasured endangered species. There are about 20 pandas in the park, but because the park is so large, one’s chances of seeing them is extremely small. One is more likely to see one of the 140 species of birds that live in the park.
It is also known for its spectacular landscape of clear blue water, green pools, low waterfalls, snow capped mountains and caves. It is the home of nine Tibetan and Qiang peoples. For these reasons, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and it is in the IUCN system of protected areas.
The park is a source of wood stock for many of the local peoples; it was intensely logged until the Chinese government banned logging in 1979. In order to continue to maintain the integrity of the valley, they have created buffer zones and different policies that have played a role in the reduction of human presence within the park.
The national park is highly maintained by strict policies that seem to apply to people living within the park and visitors coming from abroad. For those that come from abroad, it is highly forbidden to use any sort of personal vehicle in the park. For those that plan on visiting, there are bus passes that you can purchase which will allow you to get around.