The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years

The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years

The Ili Pika is possibly one of the most adorable on the entire planet. Nevertheless, in a few years, they may not exist at all.


The Ili Pika, first discovered not so long ago and formerly known as Ochotona iliensis, live in a very remote region in China. Sadly, these cute teddy-bear-looking animals have a population of less than 1,000.


It was Li Weidong who discovered the sweet animal in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China and had been watching its numbers decline dramatically ever since. Li estimates that the animal's population has seen a decline of up to 70 percent since 1983.


In 2008, the relative of the rabbit was put on the endangered species list, but unfortunately, there's no conservation group or organization to research or protect the ili pika.


The fluffy mammal is only under eight inches long and lives in the high elevations of the mountains, feeding on grass. Global warming seems to be the primary cause of the ili pikas disappearance, Li suspects. Rising temperatures have resulted in the snow levels becoming higher and higher, forcing the ili pikas to move up the mountains.


The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years

The Cosmos News via YouTube


The animals used to be located at elevations approximately 10,500 to 11,100 feet, but they now seem to be living around altitudes of 13,450 feet — an undeniably drastic difference. When Li first made the discovery, he estimated a population of 2,900 ili pikas. The population today is approximately a third of that number.


“I discovered the species, and I watched as it became endangered,” Li told CNN. “If it becomes extinct in front of me, I’ll feel so guilty.”


Li has decided to take the research and conservation into his own hands. In 2014, he organized a group of 20 volunteers to help track the ili pikas and do some population estimation. The group endearingly dubbed the ili pika the ‘magic rabbit.’


The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years

Li Weidong via CNN


Li has spent more than $23,000 of his own money funding the research for this unique mammal and receives occasional grants from the World Wide Fund for Nature. Nevertheless, it isn't the lack of funding that upsets him the most; it is the lack of recognition of the ili pika’s grave danger.


“This tiny species could be extinct any time,” he said. “They don’t exist in the sites where they used to be anymore.”


Li has been urging and pressing for the establishment of a nature reserve for the ili pika; but, as of late, it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.


The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years

Li Weidong via CNN

“I’m almost 60, and soon I won’t be able to climb the Tianshan Mountains,” Li said. “So I really hope that an organization will have people study and protect the Ili Pika.”


The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years

Pinterest


Learn more about this precious animal in the video below and don't forget to spread the word about this severely endangered species.



Reference: Animal Channel

The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years The Ili Pika, a Cute Teddy-Bear-Looking Animal, Might Not Exist in a Few Years Reviewed by Katerina Pap on 6:52 PM Rating: 5

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