First Polar bears – Are pikas of the Great Basin next?

The polar bear is already listed as endangered, because of threats of global warming.                               The pika could be the next species to be listed.

Endangered Great Basin Pika

Endangered Great Basin Pikanext. Pikas (Ochotona princeps) an alpine relative of the rabbit. Their dense fur, slow reproductive rate and a very sensitive thermal regulation system are suited for temperatures below 78 degrees. Above that temperature, pikas cannot live.

For pikas in the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah, their numbers are falling. Pikas once typically lived at about 5,700 feet above sea level, but now seem to be moving up to higher than 8,000 feet with no where to go or going lower-than-expected in elevations. In parts of the western Great Basin, about 17 percent of expected pikas sites showed no signs of the animals.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to decide by May 1, 2009 whether to take an in-depth look at the pika — a diminutive relative of the rabbit that inhabits 10 Western states — and decide whether it may need to be protected by putting it on the endangered species list.

“It’s like the ‘check engine’ light that comes on in your car. It tells you something’s going on here,” Dan Ashe, science adviser to the head of the Fish and Wildlife Service said. “Climate seems to be the single strongest driver but made much worse by grazing, habitat loss, roads and human disturbance.

american_pika_09-08-20071

Will we allow the  pikas’ sightings, distinctive squeaks, telltale heaps of grasses the animals gather and save for winter munching to disappear along with the polar bear, the great cats and the numerous plants, amphibians and whales due to us not changing our habits?

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of news.yahoo.com globalwarmingpika

As West warms, some fear for tiny mountain dweller – Mike Stark, A P April 4,2009.

Excerpts courtesy of nhptv.org NATUREWORKS/americanpika

Excerpts courtesy of en.wikipedia .org wiki/Pika

Image 1. Courtesy of  AP Photo and US Geological Survey

Image 2. Courtesy of google and tringa.org AmericanPika09-08-2007

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