Pikas Endangered?

Feds review the species to see if threat from global warming warrants Endangered Species listing

Photo: Picasa 3.0

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Poor, poor pikas—so very cute, and so very flammable. As we’ve noted before, climate change threatens to drive this species to extinction, either by shortening their eating season, altering the plants they eat, driving them off mountains, or simply frying them to death. That’s right: Pikas often go terminal when temps go above 75 degrees.

But now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has announced they plan to review the species’ status, with an eye towards adding them to the Endangered Species List. Between now and Feb. 10, 2010, USFWS scientists will research and monitor the little fuzzballs to see if in fact they are in more danger of biting it because of climate change. If they rule in the pikas’ favor, they’ll be the first animal in the Lower 48 officially declared endangered because of climate change.

This is music to conservation groups, who’ve been campaigning on the pika’s behalf for several years.

Pikas live in the high mountain meadows and boulder fields of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Go check ’em out soon, before they spontaneously combust.

—Ted Alvarez

U.S. to see if tiny pika merits protection (MSNBC)

via The Goat

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