According to a recent study, the American pika population in California is decreasing fast and scientists believe that climate change is to blame. The study was published in the Journal of Biogeography.
The American pika is a rabbit-like diurnal creature can be found in the mountains of North America. The American pika has a small, hairy and round body that can range from 6 to 8 inches (162 to 216 mm) and it can weigh about 6 oz. (170 grams).
Unfortunately, according to a recent study, the American pika population in California is decreasing rapidly due to rising temperatures. The pikas are going extinct in sites in the Sierra Nevada with low elevation, the study remarked.
After carefully examining historical data, the scientists have found that pikas in their normal California range have disappeared by 15%. These places have become 2.2 degrees warmer than what the animals are accustomed to.
American Pikas are adapted to the cold temperatures of the high elevation boulder fields and alpine meadows. The animals do not hibernate and require a high body temperature in order to survive the winter. They prepare for winter by harvesting grasses and various seeds.
With this information in mind, scientists predict that by 2070 the American pika population in California will have been decreased by up to 90%. They added that this number depends a great deal on how much summer temperatures rise.
Joseph Stewart, a graduate student at University of California Santa Cruz and lead author of this study, states that the results of the study are very troubling and that they point the finger at the ultimate culprit, climate change.
The National Park Service revealed that three pika communities in Oregon, close to Crater Lake, have disappeared in recent years.
Stewart believes that the American pikas population in California is the perfect example of the large impact climate change has on the fauna. The small creature simply cannot migrate like other animals can and it cannot adapt fast enough to have a chance at survival. The high temperatures in the California area presents a danger for the survival of this species.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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