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Extremely Rare Chinese 'Magic Rabbit' That Looks Like A Toy Bear Going Extinct

Apr 12, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
Collared Pika - Hatchers Pass Alaska
A Collared Pika in Hatchers Pass Alaska, 2011. The Collared Pika is another breed related to the rare Chinese Pika.
(Photo : The poison of doubt/Wikimedia Commons)

This is sad news for animal lovers. The extremely rare Chinese "Magic Rabbit" that looks like a teddy bear is going extinct.

Considered as one of the rarest and arguably one of the cutest mammals on Earth, the lli Pika was discovered in the Tian Shan Mountains in Xingjian, China in 1983. Researchers from the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, led by Weidong Li, discovered the tiny creature that resembles a toy bear. According to the Scientific American, in the 1990s, authorities acknowledged the fact that the population of "Magic Rabbits" is dwindling.

Between 2002 and 2003, Li and his team launched an expedition to further study lli Pikas but they saw nothing. They were listed as endangered by the Union for Conservation on Nature in 2008. Today, they are believed to be going extinct.

That's why everyone was surprised when the rare and elusive Chinese "Magic Rabbit" reappeared in 2014. Some lli Pikas were photographed for the first time after 20 years, emerging from the mountain crevices in China.

Li and his team were setting up their cameras when the rare animal nonchalantly appeared. One of Li's colleagues, Tatsuya Shin, told National Geographic, "They found it hiding behind a rock, and they realized they had found the pika. They were very excited".

Animal lovers and conservationist fell in love with the rare lli pika because of its uncanny resemblance to a toy bear. Because of its adorable face, fur and ears that look so much like those of a rabbit's, they are known by the moniker "Magic Rabbit" or "Magic Bunny". The Chinese "Magic Rabbits" are also described to look like Pikachu from "Pokémon."

Ili Pikas are actually categorized as "lagomorphs," which is a cross-breed between hares and rabbits. "Magic Rabbits" are so elusive that even researchers are having difficulties studying them.

In 2015, CNN reported that conservationists believe that there are less than 1,000 remaining lli Pika in China. The outlet said they are going extinct because of their shrinking habitats. While more and more mountains in China are being developed, lli Pikas have less room to live. Climate change also has an impact in the decline of "Magic Rabbits" as well as air pollution.

Their discoverer, Weidong Li, laments the idea of the rare lli Pika going extinct. He said, "I discovered the species, and I watched as it became endangered. If it becomes extinct in front of me, I'll feel so guilty".

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