Animal Rights Articles
Moo-ving people toward compassionate living
Visit the all-creatures.org Home Page.
Write us with your comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pika: Mountain Critter at Risk
From Environmental Defense Fund
An endearing little furball, the American pika is well-known to hikers who hear these hamster-sized mammals whistling from rockpiles and talus slopes.
Their range includes Canada and the Mountain West, occurring at cool northern latitudes and high altitudes. Until recently, they were not considered especially threatened.
But a 2003 study in the Journal of Mammalogy reported that 7 out of 25 historic Great Basin populations had disappeared, and 2 more Great Basin population extinctions were discovered after publication.
Global Warming Threats
Some may like it hot but not the pika. Even brief exposures (as little as a few hours) at temperatures above 78 degrees F can be fatal. Plus they rely on snowpack for insulation in the winter.
In the southern portions of its range, some populations already occupy the highest altitudes, with no place to move upward to escape the heat.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently considering the pika for listing under the Endangered Species Act, which would make it the first mammal in the lower 48 to be listed due to global warming.
Pikas have frequently been described as the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ of alpine and montane ecosystems in the western U.S. – their disappearance is an alarming signal of sweeping climate disruptions.
And, like prairie dogs, pikas are pruners and help maintain the diversity and abundance of alpine meadow plant species.
Other Western Species at Risk
The American West is in global warming's crosshairs. Warmer winters will lead to less snowpack in the mountains, which will exacerbate already worsening droughts in the region. There has already been a four-fold increase in the number of major wildfires in western forests.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, western sagebrush habitats could decline by 59 percent before the end of this century, devastating sage grouse, mule deer, pronghorn and other species.
Higher stream temperatures and less water flow could threaten trout and other western cold-water fish.
Return to Animal Rights Articles
Please Help Our Efforts
We welcome your comments:
Fair Use Notice: This document may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. We believe that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
All Creatures Animal Rights Article: justice, peace, love, compassion, ethics, organizations, Bible, God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Holy Spirit, grass roots, animals, cruelty free, lifestyle, hunting, fishing, traping, farm, farming, factory, fur, meat, slaughter, cattle, beef, pork, chicken, poultry, hens, battery, debeaking. Thee is also a similarity to the human aspects of prolife, pro life, pro-life, abortion, capital punishment, and war.
| Home Page | Animal Issues | Archive | Art and Photos | Articles | Bible | Books | Church and Religion | Discussions | Health | Humor | Letters | Links | Nature Studies | Poetry and Stories | Quotations | Recipes | What's New? |
Thank you for visiting all-creatures.org.