The gleep are a species native to Jotun, the capital of the Savages of Jotun.
Gleeps are a six-legged, reptile-like species with avian features, visually similar to an Earth iguana. Gleep bodies are about four feet long, with a tail that adds about a foot and a half. Their front four legs all point forward, with feet that are capable of gripping and manipulation, but lack true opposable thumbs, making their dexterity limited; their rearmost legs point back, and are even less dexterous, but are much stronger and provide most of the force for forward movement. Their bodies are almost entirely covered in small scales, except for their back along their spine which have feathers, starting from the top of their head and going to about a third of the way down their tail. Gleep are known to come in a wide variety of colors, though except in rare cases their body scales will all be one color, with the feathers on their back being a different shade of the same color. (usually darker) Their posture is very low, with usually only an inch or two between the ground and their stomach, except for their head which they usually raise up to be almost a foot off the ground. At their widest point, a Gleep's body is usually around eight inches wide and six inches high, though their legs typically spread apart to just over two feet wide when able.
Gleep have been proven internationally as a fully sapient species, ranking just below Humans in tests to measure intelligence across different species; in fact they almost always score higher than the dominant sapient species of Jotun, the Nisi. Unfortunately, Gleep lack a natural voice box, restricting their natural communication to the most basic, animal-like calls, and forcing them to use methods like writing or typing to communicate beyond that. Gleep live for 50-60 standard galactic years on average.
The gleep evolved alongside the Nisi on Jotun, failing to become the dominant species despite having a higher capacity for inelligence. While the Nisi evolved to be a predatory hunting species, the Gleep evolved to be a burrowing scavenger species, typically digging safe hovels under the trunks of trees to get away from the Nisi, who hunted them regularly. When the Uplifters and their sirian vassals first arrived to Jotun, the Gleep were overlooked in favor of the Nisi, and thus the Gleep remained mostly unchanged by the ordeal. After the Uplifters and Sirians left and the Nisi began to develop, the Gleep were still treated as a prey species, the Nisi being unaware of the Gleeps' sapience.
In the centuries to come, the Nisi began experimenting in mass domestication of various species on Jotun, the Gleep included; primarily for the means of meat production, to supply the Nisis' carnivorous diet. Gleep were not the most popular animal of choice for meat and did not get domesticated en masse as quickly as other species, but by the time the Nisi reached space flight and went to war with the Sirian Union, there was a small industry for Gleep meat. While the Nisi didn't learn the full extent of Gleep intelligence until later, they had long known Gleep to more intelligent than most of the "other animals", and so there was limited attempts by the Nisi to domesticate them into pets, with varying success.
The truth about the gleep did not become known until 3399, when Nisi singer Bytua Windrain traveled to the planet Paaneah to participate in the Verandi I-Jam music festival and brought her Gleep pet "Thumper" along; Bytua had trained Thumper to play a set of drums with his legs to go with her singing. Though far from the most popular performances, Bytua gained lots of notability with her's and Thumper's performance; the most remarkable moment being when Bytua claimed that the next song she would play had been written by Thumper, before she started singing the song. This was assumed to be a joke as part of a publicity stunt, until Bytua was approached by a Verandi journalist for an interview at the end of I-Jam. During the interview, Bytua had Thumper demonstrate his ability to both read and write the Abbit sheet music they used to perform; Bytua had failed to realize the significance of this, as had all other Nisi who also knew of it.
The Verandi journalist though, did not, and in the years to come many tests of Gleep intelligence were done among those that had been brought by nisi immigrants, with the results quickly being spread internationally. After this was brought to the attention of the Savages' Warlord at the time, Diabya Bravekit, she quickly ordered their own tests to be done for confirmation, which indeed supported the findings of the Verandi tests; including a particularly notorious and embarrassing experiment in which the Gleep test subjects actually outsmarted the Nisi scientists testing on them. Fearing an international uproar from the likes of the Verandi Empire, the Sirian Union, and the Ashkathi Union, Diabya quickly made it law that the Gleep would have full rights as citizens of the Savages, including all the laws of protection that applied to the Nisi. This did cause some uproar, as now hunting and eating Gleep was illegal, effectively killing off the Gleep meat industry overnight; prominent farm and factory owners in that industry were among the most outspoken against the decision, until Diabya defeated the biggest names of the bunch in duels.
Immediately after the discovery of gleep sapience, the Norb Network, due to concerns with the treatment of the species by the Savages and the Sirian Union, began discussions with several other nations with the goal of establishing a new, and independent, gleep world. This resulted in the foundation of the Independent Commonwealth in 3414.
Having had no education among their species to speak of until around 150 years ago, Gleep culture that is unique to the gleep is practically non-existent, which gives many of them a uniquely impassive view to start with in regards to most other cultures, including that of the nisi. Though it is now illegal by law for nisi in the Savages to own Gleep, many Gleep on Jotun live with Female Nisi families for practical purposes, filling more or less the same household role as pet guard dogs do among Humans. Gleep who've immigrated to other nations do tend to be more independent, as much as a species with no opposable thumbs and no voice boxes can be. For the Gleep, moving to other nations has become a moderate fad in recent history, as many Gleep are attracted by the prospect of getting away from the Nisi, whom plenty of Gleep still see as predators towards themselves. (And when talking about Male Nisi they're not always wrong, either.)
Though it has thus far proven impossible to accurately census all the gleep due to the conditions on Jotun, it is estimated that there are at least 5.5 billion gleep in the galaxy. The Independent Commonwealth has a population of 4.5 billion gleep, approximately 800 million reside on Jotun, and at least 200 million gleep live in the rest of the galaxy.