Adorable animal known as the “Magic Rabbit” at risk of extintion

By Maria Kyriacou

Adorable animal known as the “Magic Rabbit” at risk of extintion
Meet the Ili Pika, an endangered teddy bear like creature native to China, which is even rarer than the panda.

Not many people are familiar with this cute critter, that was only brought to the world’s attention in 1983 by conservationist Li Weidong who also coined its nickname of the “magic rabbit”. In this short time, Weidong estimates they’ve had a 70% decline in numbers.

With less than 1,000 of these mountain dwellers left, the conservationist said, “If it becomes extinct in front of me, I’ll feel so guilty.”


The Ili Pika’s demise is a result of several factors. Global warming accounts for one, with rising temperatures forcing the 20 centimetre mammals to retreat to mountain tops as glaciers recede.

Not being as vocal as other Pika species sees them more at risk of predators.

Li who has devoted his life to the Ili Pika, has spent more than $32,000 of his own money over the past 30 years, but as he nears 60 years of age, is hoping an organisation will study and protect the species.

What upsets Li most is the lack of official recognition for the Ili from the Chinese Government which has not placed it on the List of Wildlife under Special State Protection in spite of the decline in numbers.



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