The Ili Pika is one of the most adorable animals in the world. Sadly, in a matter of years, they might be history.
Native to a very remote region in China, the Ili Pika were first discovered back in 1983. They were formerly known as Ochotona iliensis. They now have a population of less than 1,000.
Li Weidong first found the teddy bear-looking creatures in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China and has watched their numbers decline drastically ever since. According to Li’s estimate, Ili Pika’s population has seen a decline of up to 70% since 1983. That is just heartbreaking.
The relative of the rabbit was put on the endangered species list in 2008. Unfortunately, there is no conservation group or organization to research or protect the ili pika.
The ili pika is just under eight inches long, feeds on grass, and lives in the high elevations of the mountains. Li suspects that global warming is the main cause of their population decline. Rising temperatures have affected the snow level, forcing their species to move up the mountains.
Ili Pikas used to be found at elevations around 10,500 to 11,100 feet, but now, they seem to be living at around 13,450 feet. That is quite a huge difference. Li estimated a population of 2,900 ili pikas when he first came across them. Their population is about a third of that number today.