Western Exposure

Pikas in peril? Depends on who you ask

By August 21, 2009March 19th, 2015No Comments

The temperature-sensitive, mountain-dwelling fuzzy pika of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada may be losing numbers, but scientists are divided on whether dwindling local populations are enough to signal danger for the entire species.

Lynda V. Mapes of the Seattle Times reportsthat wildlife advocates have sued to have the pika considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. A cousin to rabbits, pikas’ acute vulnerability to warm temperatures and preference for high elevation rocky inclines has some scientists concerned that a rapidly changing climate is threatening this “icon of the wild high country.”

But while all seem to agree that the pika is at risk and should be monitored, conflicting studies of their distribution, population numbers and ability to adapt to swinging temperatures have complicated evidence that warrants their listing.

Leave a Reply