Igor Purlantov

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 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. 

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