First discovered in 1983, this very cute and hard-to-find mountain creature is one of the most endangered animals on the planet. Meet Ili Pika or Ochotona iliensis, arguably the most adorable mammal on Earth.
Born in a very remote area in northwestern China, the “magic hare” was first discovered by environmentalist Li Weidong. In fact, it was he who captured the elusive creature after 20 years.
Unfortunately, according to Mr. Li Weidong, the number of species has decreased by nearly 70% since the early 1980s, with less than 1,000 individuals in the wild.
“I discovered this species and found it to be endangered,” Li told CNN. “If it becomes extinct in front of me, I would feel very guilty.”
So when he realized that no one was helping this adorable little creature, Lee decided to fix the problem himself. In 2014, he organized a team of 20 volunteers to track down cute animals in order to establish its number and aid in the conservation of the species. Unfortunately, Li, who spent most of his savings on research, was faced with a situation in which the authorities had no interest at all.
“These little species can disappear at any time,” he said. “They are no longer on the sites where they were before.”
“I’m almost 60 years old and will soon be unable to climb the Tianshan Mountains, so I really want the organization to encourage people to study and protect Ili Pika,” conservationist add.
According to Mr. Li, the adorable creatures used to be found up to 13,450 feet in the Tianshian mountains.