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A rare animal known as 'The Magic Rabbit' has been observed for the first time in 20 years





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Meet the Ili Pika, one of the world's rarest and most endangered animals.

The pictures below are the first pictures seen in 20 years of the elusive creature that lives in the mountains.

The animal was first discovered by Li Weidong in 1983 in the Tianan Mountains of China.

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The species, officially known as Ochotona Iliensis, was given the name 'Ili' in the name of Li Weidong's residence. Li, an environmental activist, is also the one who documented the new photos in July 2014. Researchers don't know too much about the rare animal, but they believe it is a rabbit's family relative.

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Li says that the population of the Ili Pika's has dropped drastically (almost 70%) since the first time he discovered them. In an interview for CNN, he said he would feel guilty if they went extinct before his eyes. He retired early so he could spend more time researching these creatures.

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He and other volunteers estimated the population of the Ili Pika's to be less than 1000 worldwide. He and his team call the animal the "Magic Rabbit" but unfortunately the danger of extinction is far from magical, with air pollution and global warming contributing to and accelerating its extinction.

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At present, there is no official organization devoting itself to the conservation of the Ili Pikas. Li hopes more people will join in his efforts and continue his faithful work as he grows too old and has difficulty climbing the mountains.

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