The province name "Yunnan" means "Cloud South", because it lies to the south of the Cloud Mountains (Yun Ling Shan).
Although the majority of the population are Han Chinese, there are over 20 recognized ethnic minorities living in the province, including the Yi, Hui, Tibetan, Bai, Zhuang, Miao, Hani, Dai, Lisu, Va, Lahu, Naxi, Jingpo, Blang, Achang, Pumi, Nu, Benglong, Drung and Jino.
About 94% of Yunnan is covered with mountains and plateaus, with the remainder consisting of basins and river valleys. The many different ecological zones in the province harbour an estimated 15,000 species of plants, 230 mammal species, 770 bird species and 130 reptile species. The more exotic species include elephants, wild oxen, and peacocks.
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