Ili Pika Facts
- The rather adorable Ili Pika remains an extremely mysterious, small species of mammal.
- Humans accidentally discovered this apparently reclusive animal in 1983, and it was not seen again until 2014. For these reasons, experts still know very little about this adorable creature.
- The Ili Pika also remains extremely rare and appears to be further declining in numbers.
- To date, we know of reported sightings of only 29 individuals. The precise cause of its decline remains a mystery.
- Evidence also indicates a maximum extant population of perhaps 2,000 individuals. However, individuals stay extremely reclusive, so precise counts continue to be impossible to acquire.
- The IUCN currently has the species listed as Endangered, pending further data.
Ili Pika Physical Description
In appearance, the Ili Pika often gets compared to a rather short-haired rabbit. Its coloring appears to be a mixed combination of white, gray, black, and brown.
The largest individuals observed so far just measured roughly 8 in (20 cm) in length.
In weight, the individuals so far measured only possesses an average weight of about 8.8 oz (250 grams).
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Lagomorpha
- Family: Ochotonidae
- Genus: Ochotona
- Species: O. iliensis
Ili Pika Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Ili Pika only seems to inhabit a very small section of the rugged Tianshan Mountains. These sit in the northwestern portion of China, in Asia. Within this range, it appears to greatly prefer to inhabit high cliff faces.
Furthermore, all individuals observed to date reside at elevations ranging between 9,200-13,450 ft (2,800-4,100 m).
The mammal also appears to construct its homes from random piles of grass or hay. The creature also seems to be entirely herbivorous, with the principal foods consisting of a wide variety of herbs and grasses.
The Ili Pika gives the appearance of being a diurnal creature. It breeds twice per year, but the numbers of offspring produced with each litter so far remain unknown.
Furthermore, despite its Endangered status, there are not currently any protection or preservation plans in place for this animal.