The Center for Biological Diversity has won a lawsuit against the US Department of the Interior to force the government to consider listing the American pika as threatened or endangered.
The tiny rabbit-like rodent has been in steep decline in recent years, which many blame on climate change. The animal has thick fur and can’t survive in temperatures higher than 80 degrees.
“The pika is a canary in the coal mine for global warming,” said Shaye Wolf, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “So declines of the pika are an early warning of what’s to come if we don’t immediately reduce our greenhouse gas pollution.”
Under the federal suit, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife has until May to decide if there is enough evidence to list the pika. The Center for Biological Diversity has also sued California’s government to list the pika on the state endangered species list. That suit is still pending.Photo Credit: mahalie on Flickr under Creative Commons license.