Created by Kayley Winkelman, ESLLC 2016-2017
The American Pika is being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Due to the advancement of climate change, alpine-adapted animals, such as the pika, are experiencing detrimental effects. As the world warms, alpine environments are changing as well, for instance the tree line is changing, moving up in elevation. As the vegetation changes in higher elevations, pika’s are losing their habitat to the trees. This small critter, cousin to the rabbit, is especially adapted to excel in cold climates and they are extremely sensitive to heat and are known to overheat and die from overexposure to temperatures as mild as 78 degrees fahrenheit. So, as temperatures continue to rise, pika’s are forced to move higher up on the slopes, but eventually they will reach the top and there will be no more mountain left for them to climb.