This is the New Cutest Chinese Endangered Animal
You think you liked pandas? Get ready to meet your new favorite cute Chinese animal, also recently added to the list of endangered species.
Imagine this animal just a bit more yellow, and you’d say a Pikachu had been found. If you’ve played or seen the show Pokémon, you would see the resemblance.
This teddy bear-looking animal, named Ili Pika, has been hidden away from human eyes for more than 20 years since its discovery in 1983.
First spotted in the Tian Shan Mountains by mere accident, the scientist Weidong Li never sought to discover a new species when he was assigned a mission by the government to explore Xinjiang Province mountains for natural resources and infectious diseases.
To do a follow up of the species, Li gathered a few volunteers in 2014 to get a better look at the specimen. While setting up camera traps, they were surprised by a curious Pika. Li quickly redirected his camera and shot a few pictures of the furry critter, the same pictures that made this specimen known to the world.
Unfortunately, its habitat is under threat, and their population is rapidly declining.
Mr. Li’s team estimated around 2,900 animals the first time it was spotted. Twenty years later in 2002, a new study revealed a population of 2,000 animals, and a 2014 census found less than 1,000 pikas.
“If it becomes extinct in front of me, I’ll feel so guilty. I’m almost 60, and soon I won’t be able to climb the Tian Shan Mountains. I really hope that an organization will have people study and protect the Ili pika,” Li said.
According to Mr. Li, the so called “magic rabbit” is being affected by global warming, as the altitude of permanent snow in the Tian Shan Mountain has risen.