Stop Global Warming or this Pika Gets it. I am not messin’ around.

November 14, 2011

World Wildlife Fund: 

The American pika,(PS  – unofficially “the 3rd cutest animal in North America”) a small flower-gathering relative of the rabbit, may be one of the first mammals in North America known to fall victim to global warming if heat-trapping emissions are not reduced soon.
American pikas are typically found in rocky areas, called talus, within alpine regions of the western United States and southwestern Canada. Many hikers, while passing through pika habitat in these rocky areas, have heard these shy creatures call and whistle to each other.

Since food is difficult to obtain in winter in the alpine environment, pikas cut, sun-dry, and later store vegetation for winter use in characteristic ‘hay piles.’ They are often called ‘ecosystem engineers’ because of their extensive haying activities.

According to research, global warming appears to have contributed to local extinctions of pika populations. American pikas may be the ‘canary in the coal mine’ when it comes to the response of alpine and mountain systems to global warming. Find out how you can become part of the solution to global warming and help American pikas.

Research suggests that American pikas are particularly vulnerable to global warming because they reside in areas with cool, relatively moist climates like those normally found in their mountaintop habitat. As temperatures rise due to increasing emissions of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases, many montane animals are expected to seek higher elevations or migrate northward in an attempt to find suitable habitat. Living essentially on high-elevation islands means that American pikas in these regions have little option for refuge from the pressures of climate change because migration across low-elevation valleys represents for them an incalculably high risk – and perhaps an impossibility under current climate regimes. Results from a new study suggest that climate may be interacting with other factors such as proximity to roads and smaller habitat area to increase extinction risk for pikas, creating detrimental synergistic effects.

Adopt a Pika here!!


One Response to “Stop Global Warming or this Pika Gets it. I am not messin’ around.”

  1. daveburton Says:

    The pika is not an endangered species.

    …federal biologists say new studies suggest the pika will adjust to warmer homes or migrate to cooler areas upslope.
    “American pika can tolerate a wider range of temperatures and precipitation than previously thought,” the biologists wrote in a finding scheduled for publication next week in the Federal Register. “We have determined that climate change is not a threat at the species- or the subspecies-level now or in the foreseeable future.”

    The Guinea Worm is severely endangered, however. Perhaps you could help to protect it.

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