Rare Pika in China With 'Teddy Bear Face' Spotted After 2 Decades
Unbelievably Cute Mammal With Teddy Bear Face has been spotted in China for the first time in 20 years.
The Ili pika eluded scientist Weidong Li for 20 years -- until Li and a volunteer group went searching for the rare animal with a "teddy bear face"
The rare animal tiny Ili Pika, an eight-inch long rabbit-relative, is one of the world's most endangered animals with less than 1,000 animals believed to be left in its natural habitat.
The Ili Pika population is believed to have declined by almost 70 per cent since its discovery in 1983, scientists say. The Ili Pika, formally known as Ochotona iliensis, was discovered by conservationist Li Weidong in 1983, who named it after his hometown.
The animals can only be found in the Tianshan mountain range in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China, and its territory is under threat, with the population rapidly declining.
Increases in grazing pressure and global atmospheric pollution resulting in climate change are believed to be the primary threats to these animals, according to the IUCN.
The Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, where Li reportedly works, did not immediately respond to ABC News' calls and emails requesting to speak with Li for additional comment.