The wildlife of Korea belongs to the Palearctic realm. Native or endemic species of the Korean Peninsula include Korean hare, Korean water deer, Korean field mouse, Korean brown frog, Korean pine and Korean spruce. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with its forest and natural wetlands is a unique biodiversity spot, which harbours 82 endangered species such as the red-crowned crane, Amur leopard and the Siberian tiger. Overall, DMZ is home to about 70 mammalian species, more than 300 birds and about 3,000 plants.

At the same time the populations of bears, lynxes, tigers, wolves, dholes and leopards, which once inhabited the Korean Peninsula, are presently very rare or extirpated, and likewise large ungulates (with the exceptions of roe deer, water deer and wild boar) are uncommon.[3] The local wildlife sustained some damage during the Japanese occupation in 1910–1945 and subsequent Korean War, particularly due to overhunting of tigers.


Korean fauna originates in ecosystems that can be seen in China, and are particularly abundant in birds nowadays, like White Heron, which has been a symbol of local nature imagery and poetry. The Korean Peninsula accommodates 515 reported species of birds, which as of 2011 is about 3–5% of the world total. South Korea has about 370 bird species, of which about fifty species are permanent residents and the rest are migratory. Plains are inhabited by migratory waterfowl and cranes. The open countryside is inhabited by the common pheasant. South Korean wetlands support over one million wintering ducks and geese.

Carnivoran animals include weasels, badgers and marten. Northern part of the Korean Peninsula is home to antelopes and raccoon dogs.

Aquatic fauna includes about 212 species of freshwater fish. Four species of them received the status of Natural Monument Fish – marbled eel, spotted barbel, Manchurian trout and golden mandarin fish. The Korean Peninsula has a significant number of native freshwater fish species, which includes Korean taimen, Korean stumpy bullhead, Korean spotted hopper, south torrent catfish and black shiner. Endemic marine fauna includes Korean skate and Korean rockfish.

The number of insects in the Korean Peninsula is estimated at about 12,300 species.


The Korean Peninsula is home to about 3,034 species of vascular plants, which belong to 217 families, 1,045 genera and 406 infraspecific taxa. Korean forests include evergreen pines and deciduous trees – maple, birch, poplar, oak, ash and elm. Common fruit trees include apple, pear, peach, apricot, plum, persimmon and Chinese quince. High mountains feature exclusively alpine plants. Southern coastal areas harbour citrus plants. Several hundreds plant species are considered medicinal. Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea.

The flora of North Korea has over 100 endemic species of vascular plants.