A Chinese man by the name of Weidong Li recently captured images of a rare animal called the Ili Pika, or magical rabbit.
This species of small mammal is one of the most endangered in the world, and this sighting was the first time in 20 years that Li has spotted one the creatures in the northwestern mountains of China.
The official name for the species is ‘Ochotona iliensis’, and it was named the Ili Pika as a common name after the hometown of Li, who was the first to ever document the creature back in 1983.
Current estimates state that there are less than 1,000 of these rabbits left in the world, and their numbers have actually dropped by 70 percent since they were discovered.
Li continues to search for new pockets of the species whenever he can, as he feels personally responsible for them as their discoverer. Of course, if their numbers have truly dropped that much in a mere 20 years, it is clearly the result of larger issues than anything resulting from their discovery.
The most commonly accepted reason for the decline in population of these creatures is global warming. It is believed these cousins of rabbits are more inclined to colder climates, and with dwindling ideal habitats, they are loosing numbers quickly.
The creatures are so rare that no one seems to care much if they survive, beyond Li and the members of his hometown close to where the rabbits live. There is no government effort to prevent their extinction.