The Palaearctic is the largest biogeographical region of the world, stretching from the icy tundra in the north through to the Mediterranean Basin and the hot, dry deserts of North Africa. It includes great expanses of subarctic and temperate forest and steppe grassland through Europe and Central Asia, as well as many mountain ranges. The Palaearctic meets the Indomalay region at the Himalayas, huge mountains which act as a natural boundary.
Giant Pandas, Yaks and Snow Leopards are just some of the remarkable mammals that live in this region. Many have adaptations for coping with changes in temperature and food availability at different times of the year. Over 1000 bird species are found here including ptarmigans, Snowy Owls and Eider Ducks. Many birds are migratory – they make seasonal journeys across the region between summer breeding sites and winter feeding sites.
In the past, Eurasia has been joined to North America by a land bridge across the Bering Strait so these two regions share many species.
In the Wild exhibition we have many animals from the Palaearctic on display. The Regional Animals box at right contains a selection, with information about why they are special and how they are faring in the wild.