The images of four species endemic to China's wetlands adorn the logo for the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP14). The Yangtze finless porpoise, the milu deer, the Yangtze alligator and the crested ibis were all once thought to be extinct in the wild, but they have all witnessed stable population growth thanks to steadfast conservation efforts.
The Yangtze finless porpoise
Dubbed "smiling angel," the Yangtze finless porpoise is a critically endangered species and is under first-class state protection in China, as it is the only known freshwater finless porpoise in the world. Its presence is also an important indicator of the ecological state of the Yangtze River. In recent years, Yangtze finless porpoises have often been spotted leaping out of water thanks to years of protection efforts.
With a horse's face, a donkey's tail, cow-like hooves and a stag's antlers, this unique species is known as Sibuxiang in Mandarin, which translates literally as "like none of the four." The deer vanished in China in 1900 due to wars and natural disasters, but was brought back from Britain in 1985. The number of milu deer in China has risen thanks to the country's strengthened protection policies. There are over 8,000 milu deer living in over 40 reserves nationwide.
The Yangtze alligator, also known as the Chinese alligator, has lived on Earth for over 200 million years. It is a first-class protected animal endemic to China. Don't be fooled by its ferocious appearance though. This "living fossil" is tame, slow and small.
Believed to have existed for more than 60 million years, the crested ibis is known as the "oriental ruby." While this beauty typically keeps a low profile, its vibrant pinkish plumage is on full display when it spreads its wings and flies. Up from merely seven when the species was rediscovered deep in the Qinling Mountains in northwest China's Shaanxi Province in 1981, the crested ibis population has increased to over 7,000 in four decades.