World Lagomorph Society
World Lagomorph Society
Unbelievably Cute Mammal With Teddy Bear Face Rediscovered
Friday, March 20, 2015

You could call it one of the world's longest games of hide and seek.

For more than 20 years, the Ili pika (Ochotona iliensis), a type of tiny, mountain-dwelling mammal with a teddy bear face, had eluded scientists in the Tianshan Mountains (map) of northwestern China.

People have seen the furry critter only a handful of times since it was discovered by accident in 1983. In fact, people have spotted only 29 live individuals, and little is known about the animal's ecology and behavior. (Also see "Newly Discovered Carnivore Looks Like Teddy Bear.")

Then, in summer 2014, researchers rediscovered the pika.