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Feds: Mountain-dwelling pika may need protection

An article in the Associated Press reveals that for the first time an animal is being considered for the Endangered Species List due to the affect of climate change.

  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service is launching an in-depth review of the American Pika's status.
  • The American Pika is suited to alpine conditions, but does not do well in the heat: even brief exposure to temperatures of 78 degrees can cause death.
  • Pikas have tried to move upslope to escape rising temperatures, but they have run out of room.

Feds: Mountain-dwelling pika may need protection
By Mike Stark
Associated Press
May 6, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A tiny mammal that can't handle warm weather could become the first animal in the lower 48 states to get Endangered Species Act protection primarily because of climate change.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, responding to a petition from environmentalists, said Wednesday that will launch an in-depth review of the American pika and submit findings by Feb. 1, 2010.

The Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged that there's "substantial information" indicating that climate change may threaten the pikas' habitat and range.

"The service knows that climate change is real. It is the biggest conservation challenge of our time," said Diane Katzenberger, a spokeswoman for the agency in Denver.

Read the full article.

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