Pika conservation project goes statewide, needs volunteers

The Front Range Pika Project in Colorado is expanding statewide. The project needs more volunteers to help cover new research sites.

From: KUSA
January 2, 2019

Colorado researchers want to protect American Pikas, and they need your help to do it.

The Denver Zoo along with Rocky Mountain Wild, a nonprofit that aims to protect unique wildlife in Colorado, have been studying pikas and their habitats as part of the Front Range Pika Project (FRPP) for years.

This year, their project is going statewide.

The FRPP was launched in 2010, after U.S. Fish and Wildlife made a decision not to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act.

Erica Garroutte with the Field Conservation Department at the Denver Zoo says researchers are concerned pikas could disappear over time because of climate change.

“Because pikas are so uniquely adapted to those harsh alpine ecosystems, we think they are pretty sensitive to increasing summer temperatures and we also think they are sensitive to variation in snowpack,” she said. “So because we know this about pika ecology, we think they may be a canary in a coal mine for the potential impacts climate change may be having on alpine ecosystems across Colorado.”

Watch the news segment at KUSA 9News.

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