The Dixie Dove

July 22, 2016

The Real Pikachu

It seems obvious that the Pokemon character Pikachu is based on this real life (though nearly extinct) little creature called a Pika, but I cannot find any confirmation from Pokemon on that.

Since the Pika is in dire straits for survival I would hope that the Pokemon group would make some financial effort to save the species...
Here is an article about the Pika...

This Real-Life Pikachu aka Ili Pika Is World's Cutest Endangered Mammal And May Become Extinct

29 March 2015, 9:59 am EDT By James Maynard Tech Times

Li Wei-Dong discovered the Ili pika, formally known as Ochotona iliensis, in the Tian Shan mountains of northwestern China in 1983 and named it after his hometown, Ili. He spotted and photographed the elusive creature last July for the first time since the early 1990s.

  ( Li Wei-Dong )
The Ili pika may be one of the world's cutest endangered animals, and the creatures have recently been photographed for the first time in 20 years.
The Ili pika grows to be about 8 inches long and adults weigh around 9 ounces. The mammals make their homes in burrows and dens within small crevices and cracks in mountain rocks, sheltering themselves from the chilly climate. It lives at high elevations, between 9,200 and 13,450 feet, and eats grass and plants.
Also known as the magic rabbit, Ochotona iliensis is native to the Tian Shan mountains in China. The species was first recorded in 1983, but not officially documented until 1986, and the animals could not be studied in detail until 1993. In more than three decades since the species was first spotted, just 29 of the animals have been seen in the wild.
Biologists estimate that around 2,000 Ili pika lived in the wild in the early 1990s, but that number has likely dropped to half that population under pressures from habitat loss, fragmented populations and increasing activities of humans in the native habitat of the animals. Global warming could also be playing a role in population losses of the species, researchers believe. An investigation of more than half the areas the animals had been seen was carried out in 2002 and 2003, but failed to turn up even a single individual.
Wei-Dong Li of the Xinjiang Institute for Ecology and Geography in China, who originally discovered the species 32 years ago in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, took the new photograph. Li and a team of researchers traveled to the grounds where the species had previously been seen, in an effort  to determine the health of the species. The wildlife investigators were setting up a network of automated cameras when one of the rare animals chanced upon the scene.
"They found it hiding behind a rock, and they realised they had found the pika. They were very excited," Tatsuya Shin, a member of the research team that made the rediscovery, said.
Several species of pika are known around the world, and the magic rabbit is the largest of all. While many other species of the creatures exhibit frequent chirping noises when communicating with each other, the few Ili pikas ever observed in the wild are largely quiet. However, the small sample size could be responsible for a false assumption concerning the species as a whole. The animals are gray with several small brown spots on their fur.
"If it becomes extinct in front of me, I'll feel so guilty. I'm almost 60, and soon I won't be able to climb the Tian Shan Mountains. I really hope that an organization will have people study and protect the Ili pika," Li said.
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