Lashi Lake, covering an area of 9 square kilometers, is located at the basin in Hengduan Mountain Range, about 8 km west of Lijiang’s Ancient Town. In the Naxi language, Lashi means “New Basin”. This beautiful lake is not only a scenic spot but also an important habitat for over 70 species of migratory birds and various plants, fish, shellfish and river snails.
With its rich environment, the watershed of Lashi Lake is covered with dense virgin forests, an extensive plateau lake and marsh where the Naxi and Yi ethnic groups have lived in harmony with diverse wild creatures for millennia. Excellent natural conditions have made the area so prosperous, noted as a “rich and popular land flowing with milk and honey” and a “heaven for migratory birds”. In winter, many wild birds stream here through the Valley of the Hengduan Mountain down from the cold Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. They perch in the grass and look for food in the streams. The warm climate here makes it possible for them to pass the long and cold winter in safety. By the next March when the spring comes and flowers bloom, the birds fly back north for reproduction.
Lashi Lake is a plateau wetland with a healthy ecology. Each winter, about 25,000 to 30,000 birds hibernate here. At present, there are 75 species of migratory birds found in Lashi Lake, including rare and endangered birds and national preserved animals like the whooping swan, great egret and black-necked crane. They rest and look for food here, populating the homesteads, villages, streams and green meadows at the foot of Jade Dragon Mountain.