China’s Endangered ‘MAGIC RABBIT’ Rediscovered and Photographed For the First Time in 20 Years
In remote northwest China, the cliffs of the Tian Shan mountains provide the last holdout for the Ili pika, a tiny rabbit relative with a shrinking habitat.
The Ili pika was always a rare and elusive creature, and it’s becoming rarer. Last summer it was photographed for the first time in 20 years, and the adorable photos were published this month in National Geographic‘s China edition.
Conservationist Li Weidong, the photographer, discovered the species in 1983. Since then, he’s documented the Ili pika’s decline. Analyzing tracks and droppings, Li and another scientist estimate that the Ili pika’s numbers dropped from 2,900 in the 1990s to 2,000 in 2005. There may be only 1,000 Ili pika left today.