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Yangmingshan National Park
The complex terrain and diverse vegetation found in the Yangmingshan National Park provide an attractive habitat for wildlife. Eighteen species of mammals, 110 different types of birds, 21 varieties of amphibians, over 40 different reptiles, and more than 160 types of butterflies have been identified in the park. The bird watching experience is an activity enjoyed year-round in Yangmingshan. Between the months of May and August, the park enjoys an annual outbreak in the butterfly population. A bird and butterfly watching trail and spots are presently located at the Datun Mountain area.

Yushan National Park
A wide difference in altitudes (a variance of 3,600 meters from the lowest to the highest point), sheer cliffs, and deep valleys in the Yushan National Park lend to the park highly unstable weather conditions. Temperatures can vary from warm to cold at the same time at places relatively near to one another. Therefore, the diversity of plants found here is truly remarkable. While accounting for merely 3% of Taiwan's total land area, the park has fully half of Taiwan's native plant species growing within its boundaries.

Vegetation in the park's alpine tundra areas, such as that found on Yushan, Mabolasih, Siouguluan, and Guanshan, can be categorized as sub-alpine plain and scrub and grasses found near to the ridge. Below the alpine tundra are dense forest cover and associated vegetation fed by a significant volume of rainfall every year. The high altitude forests are consist of five different types, namely: sub-alpine coniferous (>3,000 meters - cedars and firs), cold temperate coniferous (2,500~3,000 meters -- hemlock and spruce), and warm temperate coniferous / deciduous mix (1,200~2,500 meters). Lower elevations are mostly occupied by warm temperate rainforests, within which camphor is a typical species. This elevation has interspersed coniferous and secondary-growth deciduous trees.


The Yushan National Park is populated by nearly all of Taiwan's indigenous low, mid, and high altitude wildlife. These include the Formosan salamander, a rare amphibian that lives in shaded areas of forest below 3,500 meters. It has been an inhabitant of Taiwan since at least the last Ice Age. Also, between the months of March and May, visitors have the chance to see processions of butterflies fluttering through mountain valleys.
 

Kenting National Park
Situated in the tropics, Kenting¡¦s summer is long and pleasant, while winter passes quickly and largely unnoticed. Precipitation is unevenly dispersed through the year, with most rain falling from May through October. Kenting's dry season runs from November through April. Nearly concurrent with the dry season, from October through March, is the period when Kenting comes under the influence of the northeastern monsoon. Climate and geography together have endowed the area with a particularly rich ecology.

Vegetation in the park falls into two categories: coastal and upland. Coastal flora includes belts of coral reef vegetation, grasses, bush, and littoral forest. Upland flora includes belts of wetland, grassland, scrub, and forest. The Nanrenshan monsoon forest, Sail Rock and Shiangjianwan littoral forests, and uplifted coral forest are of particular interest to visitors and are protected under permanent conservation programs.

Kenting's diverse foliage supports a wide variety of animal life, including 15 wild mammal species, 316 different types of birds, 59 varieties of reptiles and amphibians, 2 species of freshwater fish, 216 different types of butterflies, and a profusion of insect life. Come to the park between autumn and spring to enjoy the annual visit of migratory birds. Kenting is a preferred rest stop for many migratory species, including the brown shrike, gray-faced buzzard, Chinese sparrow hawk, and numerous varieties of water duck.

Ocean Marine Life


The Kenting National Park is the only national park in Taiwan to include undersea areas within its boundary. The Kuroshio ("black current"), which passes nearby, maintains temperatures in the waters around Kenting at a relatively stable within the relatively stable range of 22~29oC year-round. The small number of rivers in the area helps ensure crystal clear coastal waters and creates an ideal environment for coral, which is found here in abundance, as well as fish, crustaceans, and seaweed.
Kenting is home to beautiful natural reefs, built up by countless generations of coral over thousands of years. Both types of coral, hermatypic (constructive) and ahermatypic (non-constructive), can be found in the coastal waters here. Hermatypic corals tend to live close to the ocean surface as they need ample sunlight to thrive. Ahermatypic corals, however, live in deeper, darker waters. In Kenting, you can also see both "soft" and "stony" corals -- so named based on the firmness of their calcium skeletons. It is mostly the stony corals which contribute to the building of coral reefs. Coral is a key feature of the Kenting National Park, serving as environmental bellwether for the area's delicately balanced ecosystems as well as shelter for the massive population of fish, shellfish, crustaceans, and more that calls the Kenting reefs home.

Researchers have identified 236 distinct species of coral within the Kenting National Park. Soft corals, comprising a relatively small number of species but accounting for the highest population numbers, are located offshore in greatest concentrations between Houbihu Harbor and Dalaugu and between Leidashr and Maobitou. The profusion of soft coral at Kenting is one of the few concentrations of its kind in the world.

Kinmen National Park

Its relatively small size and long history of human contact has left the park with a less than flourishing population of wildlife. One mammal of particular note is the Eurasian Otter. Being nocturnal, visitors rarely catch a glimpse of the Eurasian Otter, although signs of its activity, in and around streams and reservoirs, are not difficult to come by. The horseshoe crab is likely the most exceptional fish inhabiting the waters around Kinmen. Acclaimed as a "living fossil", the horseshoe crab swam in the seas 300 million years ago. Sadly, its numbers have steadily dwindled in recent years, as has the range in which it is found.


Birds, 280 species in all, comprise Kinmen's greatest wildlife assets. During annual spring and autumn migrations , the density of birds on Kinmen ranks first amongst all of Taiwan's migratory stopovers. Some common birds seen on Kinmen, such as the magpie robin, Lesser Pied Kingfisher, and Blue-tailed Bee Eater have never been reported on the island of Taiwan. Others, including the Hoopoe, Collared Crow, Falcated Teal and White-throated Kingfisher are seen only rarely there. Also, the Kinmen National Park is home to around 45 varieties of butterflies, of which the Nymphalidae and swallowtails are predominant. Certain butterflies, such as the common mime, are not found on Taiwan.


At least 542 species of native plants and a small number of domesticated vascular plants grow in the park, including 17 species not found in Taiwan, such as Litsea glutinosa, Pyrus betulifolia, Abelia chowii Hoo and the evening primrose species Oenothera drummondii. In the wetland areas of the park, Avicennia marina (Forsk) Vierh and Kandelia candel(L.) Druce make up mangrove forests. The Mt. Taiwu area is often subjected to strong winds and the soil is thin, thus below 10 meters are mostly thorny shrubs. In addition, this is a military use area, so prickly plants, such as white agave and cactus, etc., are a common means of preventing enemy parachute landings. Kinmen's flora is more closely related to mainland China's flora than Taiwan's flora.

Taroko National Park


In biological terms, each high mountain peak is its own island of biodiversity, and each has its own unique animal and plant life. For example, the favorable natural conditions and four months of winter snows found atop Nanhu Mountain make it an exceptional environment for alpine plants. One hundred sixty-seven plant species, nearly all such species found on Taiwan, make their home on this small patch of mountain real estate.


Different types of plants are found at different altitudes in the park. Alpine tundra plants are found above 3,000 meters, where winter snows linger for four months of the year. Typical plants here include the Yushan Juniper, Angelica morrisonicola, Nanhu Rhododendron, and Nanhu Epilobium. Coniferous forests, such as fir and Taiwan hemlock, dominate areas between 2,000 and 3,000 meters above sea level. Deciduous forests and a rich plant undergrowth cover land below 1,500 meters. At this altitude any given hundred square meter patch of land is home to 40 to 80 different plant species.


Significant changes in altitude in a small geographic area give the Taroko National Park a complex ecology. Sharp slopes and minimal human incursion have created a safe haven for animal life, making the park host to many different kinds of animals. Preliminary surveys have identified 34 varieties of mammals (6 of which are unique to Taiwan), 144 bird species (14 of which are unique to Taroko and 80% of which remain in the park year round), 15 types of amphibians (representing 1/2 of reptile species in Taiwan, 3 of which are found only in the park), 32 varieties of reptiles (3 of which are unique to the park), 18 types of freshwater fish, and 251 types of butterflies (28 of which are unique to the park).

Shei-Pa National Park

Complex topography, sharp altitude differences, and climatic variations have blessed Shei-Pa National Park with an abundant ecosystem and rich vegetation cover. The loftiness of the ¡§Holy Ridge¡¨, connecting the ridge between Mt. Syue and Mt. Dabajian, has resulted in its becoming a unique biological "island". As such, many examples of prehistoric fauna, rare or unknown elsewhere, are found here -- making these areas a veritable treasure trove of genetic data. Of more than 1,000 types of vascular plants within the park under special protection programs, 61 are included on Taiwan's list of rare species. The park's rich natural environment includes dense deciduous, mixed deciduous and coniferous, and purely coniferous forests that gradually reach to the highest peaks.

The diverse landscape of the park has resulted in an equally diverse population of wildlife. Thirty-three different types of mammals, 111 bird species, 6 varieties of amphibians, 18 varieties of lizards, 16 species of freshwater fish, and 111 distinct types of butterflies inhabit the park. The Formosan Landlocked Salmon, originally a migratory fish, was trapped in high mountain lakes and streams at the end of the last ice age and has since become a curious example of a non-migratory salmon. It also has the distinction of being the southernmost species of salmon on earth. While these salmons were once found in many of the rivers in this region, today, their distribution is limited to a 7km stretch of the Cijiawan Creek. Their numbers have similarly dwindled to only several hundreds. Today, these fish are specially protected within the park through an exclusive conservation zone.
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