The Ili pika is an endangered mammal native to northwest China. After its discovery in 1983, it was not documented again until 2014. The Ili pika somewhat resembles a short-eared rabbit. It has brightly colored hair and displays large rusty-red spots on the forehead, crown, and the sides of the neck.
Almost nothing is known about the ecology or behavior of these small animals. They are mostly diurnal, but may also exhibit nocturnal activity. During the winter season, they are more active during the day while during the spring and fall, they are more active at night. Ili pikas don't hibernate and lead a solitary life. Unlike other rock-dwelling pikas, they are less likely to utter vocalizations.
Ili pikas are known to produce only one to two litters each year, but litter size is unknown.
The population of the Ili pika has been reduced by 70% within 15 years. A recent census indicated that this species may have been extirpated from the Jilimalale and Hutubi South Mountains. The exact causes for recently observed population declines are not known with certainty, but it is speculated that an increase in grazing pressure and global atmospheric pollution resulting in climate change are negatively affecting Ili pikas. Low population densities and low reproductive rates are also thought to pose threats to pikas.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Ili pika is less than 1,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.