City Cast

Saving The American Pika

Peyton Garcia
Peyton Garcia
Posted on October 18, 2022   |   Updated on June 19
A pika holding grass in its mouth

YOU can help save this adorable little piece of our alpine ecosystem. (Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

⛰️ The Pika (scientific name: ochotona princeps): This tiny-but-mighty fluff ball has called the cool alpine elevations of the Rocky Mountains home for the last 12,000 years. In fact, you’ve almost certainly seen — or more likely heard — one scurrying in the leaves and pebbles alongside you, or squeakily calling to its colony, while on a leisurely Rocky Mountain hike. Now, the pika is at risk due to climate change.

🌡️ The Threat: As global warming continues, wildlife researchers are deeply concerned about how it may affect pika populations, which thrive in colder, high-altitude environments. For now, the species appears to be stable in Colorado. But, experts have seen a recent decline in population numbers in Nevada and Oregon. Adding to the risk, the American pika is not listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, leaving little in the way of funding and resources for protection and conservation.

👉 Get Involved: Now YOU can help advance conservation efforts with the Colorado Pika Project’s new “Pika Patrol” app for smartphones. This free new tool allows anyone strolling through pika territory to help gather data for wildlife researchers studying pikas. You don’t need any training — heck, you don’t even need cell service! The app will help you learn how to identify the little critter, its calls, scat, and living quarters. Then, whenever you spot one, you can send all the important info to experts at the Colorado Pika Project.

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