Throughout the centuries, many incredible species all over the world have disappeared. Mostly due to illegal hunting and habitat changes, birds, mammals and reptiles everywhere have gone extinct. Moreover, hundreds of species all over the globe are now endangered. One such animal is the so called magic rabbit, Ili Pika, that showed itself for the first time in almost twenty years.
The Ili Pika is one of the rarest and most endangered creatures in the world. They are native to Chine and their population counts less than 1000 specimens. What’s more, these pictures taken of the Ili Pika are the first ones in twenty years. The cute little creatures were first discovered in 1983 in the Tianshian mountains in northwestern China. Since then their population has dropped by 70%. The Ili Pika are considered to be distant relatives of rabbit, thus their nickname magic rabbit. However, due to being extremely rare, scientists know very little about them.
Li Weidong, the conservationist who discovered them, talked to CNN about the endangered species: “I discovered the species, and I watched as it became endangered. If it becomes extinct in front of me, I’ll feel so guilty.”
The animals are about 20 cm long. They live on rocky slopes and eat the grass from high areas. Li explained that the magic rabbit’s habitat is being affected by global warming. The rising temperatures have caused the glaciers to recede and the altitude of permanent snow has risen. This fact forced the Ili Pika to retreat to the mountain tops. In the beginning they were found at elevations between 3,200 to 3,400 meters. Now they have managed to reach elevations of 4,100 meters.
“They have nowhere else to retreat,” he added.
Disease and predators are other possible reasons that led to the decline of the species. Unfortunately, despite being an endangered species, the Ili Pika benefits from very little official recognition. Did you know the species is not listed on China’s List of Wildlife under Special State Protection?
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