Tag Archives: yunnan

Why are there so many glass bridges in China?

News and Travel Editor

Every few weeks on my Twitter feed, announcements pop up regarding a glass bridge in China. The widest, the longest, the highest, the scariest, one with a restaurant, one you can hit with a sledgehammer… the openings keep coming! As someone with a slight fear of heights, I’m yet to give any of them a go, but I can’t help but wonder WHY do they keep getting built? Am I missing out on something amazing? Aren’t they all….kind of the same?

I did a little digging to find out more.

Tourism
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Time for a spot of science. Architect Keith Brownlie, who was involved in a glass bridge for The London Science Museum, said that the appeal of these walkways is”thrill”. Speaking to the BBC, he said “It is the relationship between emotionally driven fear and the logical understanding of safety,” he said. “These structures tread the boundary between those two contrasting senses and people like to challenge their rational mind in relation to their irrational fear.”

Dr. Margee Kerr, a Pittsburgh (US)-based sociologist expands on this by explaining to The Huffington Post  why triggering a ‘fight or flight’ response can feel good  “Our arousal system is activated and triggers a cascade of ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters and hormones like endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline that influence our brains and our bodies” She also suggests that pride from overcoming these fears and bonding with friends and family in the process also makes scaring yourself silly so appealing.

Sky-high yoga

Okay, I’m kidding, I just wanted an excuse to include these gloriously unusual photos.
Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

In conclusion, a continually growing tourist market combined with a love of thrill seeking may go part of the way to explain the glass bridge craze that’s sweeping China. One thing is for sure, all of the bridges show off incredible landscapes – something China is definitely not short of.

Are you brave enough to give one of China’s glass bridges a try? Have you been already? If so, I’d love to know what you think makes the experience so exciting!

Survival of the Snub-Nosed Monkeys

News and Travel Editor

If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know I’ve got a terrible weakness for all things cute and furry. If you’re the same, prepare to have your heart melted.

In this week’s video, we travel to Yunnan to spend some time with the snub-nosed monkeys of Shangri-La. In the White Horse Mountains, Dr Long Yongcheng has devoted his life to studying and protecting the endangered primates.

You may be thinking that you’ve never seen a monkey like this before, and you’d probably be right. There are just five species of snub-nosed monkey left, a fraction of the previously widespread population that’s been squeezed by climate change since the last ice age. Just three species remain in China. Of those, the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey is the most endangered, and sadly the population continues to decline.

They are white when they are born, but soon develop their distinctive shaggy black coat. Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys live at the highest altitude of any primate, except for humans. In snub-nosed society, one male monkey will form a family group with as many females as possible. Mum Monkeys outrank females without children, and males with the most mates gain the highest status. It’s easy to spot the males because of the long hairs on their rumps and their size (being up to twice as big as the females). Why the flat face? No one is really sure – one theory is that the monkeys evolved a flat muzzle evolved to combat frostbitten, exposed noses.

With the help of forest guardians, and a hunting ban in place since the 1970s, monkey numbers in Dr Long Yongcheng’s corner of the forest have almost doubled. Now, the biggest threat to Yunnan’s snub-nosed monkeys is the survival of the forest itself.

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Find out more about primatologists Dr Long Yongcheng and Dr Paul Garber here