Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for American Pika : Global Warming Threatens Alpine ‘Boulder Bunny’


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, Oct. 4 -/E-Wire/– The Center for Biological Diversity on October 1st filed a scientific petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the American pika under the federal Endangered Species Act due to threats from global warming. Rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas pollution have led to dramatic losses of pika populations and could eliminate the species from large regions of the American West by the end of this century. More than a third of documented pika populations in the Great Basin mountains of Nevada and Oregon have already gone extinct.
“The American pika is the West’s canary in the coal mine,” said Dr. Shaye Wolf, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity and a primary author of the petition. “The pika is adapted to life in the cold and thrives in the high-elevation mountain ranges of the western United States. As temperatures rise, pika populations at lower elevations are being driven to extinction, pushing the pika further upslope until there will be no where left for it to go.”
The American pika, Ochotona princeps, is a small, furry mammal related to rabbits and hares whose squeaky calls are familiar companions to alpine hikers. Pikas live in the boulder fields and adjoining meadows of windswept mountain peaks, where they spend summers gathering flowers and grasses to sustain them through the winter. These “boulder bunnies,” which weigh only a third of a pound, must collect over 60 pounds of vegetation to survive each winter.
Adapted to cold alpine conditions, pikas are intolerant of high temperatures and can die from overheating when exposed to temperatures as low as 80anddeg F for just a few hours. They avoid this lethal heat by seeking the cool crevices in the boulder fields where they live and remaining inactive during warm periods but they can only do this up to a point. Rising temperatures from global warming threaten pikas by shortening the period available for them to gather food, changing the types of plants in the meadows where they forage, shrinking the area of their foraging habitat, reducing insulating snowpack during winter, and by killing them directly through overheating.
Climate change is spreading their heat death zone higher into the mountains, jeopardizing the species’ survival. In the Great Basin mountains, researchers have found that the range of the pika is retreating upslope at an accelerating pace. More than a third of documented populations in the Great Basin have gone extinct in the past century, and climate experts predict temperatures in the western United States in this century will increase twice as much as they did in the past century, perhaps more. This will prove devastating for pikas living at lower elevations and lower latitudes of the West.
Today’s petition asks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the pika from the worst impacts of global warming and other threats to its habitat. It triggers a several-step process to protect the pika, with an initial finding due in 90 days. Because the Endangered Species Act requires all federal agencies to avoid actions that threaten the survival of protected species, listing the pika will provide further impetus for the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our oil addiction is driving the American pika and many other species to extinction,” said Wolf. “The pika’s survival hinges on achieving immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but we’re running out of time.” The American pika joins the polar bear, penguins, and corals in a growing group of species imperiled by global warming for which the Center for Biological Diversity is pursuing federal protection. Contact Info:
Shaye Wolf
Tel : 415-436-9682 x 301
Cell : 415-385-5746 Website : the Center for Biological Diversity
/SOURCE: the Center for Biological Diversity
-0- 10-04-2007
/CONTACT: Shaye Wolf Tel : 415-436-9682 x 301 Cell : 415-385-5746
/WEB SITE: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org.


Filed under alpine, animals, climate change, conservation, mammal, USA, wildlife

4 responses to “Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for American Pika : Global Warming Threatens Alpine ‘Boulder Bunny’

  1. Anonymous

    dont go extinct

  2. por que los pika cambian de zona? en que tiempo y en que zonas

  3. i am currently researching the Pika for my 6th grade ELA teacher, what i have found is that they are going to extinct soon if this global waring doesn’t stop !!! please help the Pika’s and any other animals being hurt by global warming!!! Thank You!!

  4. hello it is test. WinRAR provides the full RAR and ZIP file support, can decompress CAB, GZIP, ACE and other archive formats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s