Bad News, Folks: ‘Climate Change’ Is Not Wiping Out Pikas

They’re actually doing just fine, the cute little buggers

Pikas are adapting to climate change remarkably well, contrary to many predictions

Climate change is harming many special places and iconic species around our planet, from Glacier National Park’s disappearing glaciers to California redwoods scorched by wildfires. But for the animal I study, the American pika (Ochotona princeps), there’s actually some good news: It’s not as threatened by climate change as many studies have warned.

I have studied pikas, small cousins of rabbits, for over 50 years and never tire of watching them. These tailless, egg-shaped balls of fluff live primarily in cool mountainous environments in piles of broken rock, called talus.

During summer, observers can see pikas industriously gathering caches of grass and leaves into haypiles that will serve as their food supply through the winter. Their light brown coats blend well with their surroundings, so they are easiest to spot when they perch on prominent rocks and call to alert other pikas of their presence.

When fellow hikers see me observing pikas in California’s Sierra Nevada, they often tell me they have read that these animals are going extinct. I have collected a stack of press releases that say exactly that. But based on my recent research and a comprehensive review of over 100 peer-reviewed studies, I believe that this interpretation is misleading.

The upshot is they’re not being wiped out by a tiny increase in the global temperatures, something that has occurred multiple times in just the Holocene alone, but blamed on Mankind’s carbon footprint this time. Like most animals, they simply adapt. And we aren’t anywhere near the types of climatic changes, both cold and hot, that have led to previous big extinction events, nor will you driving to get a burger make it happen.

In contrast, most sites where researchers believe that pikas have disappeared are small, isolated and often compromised by human activities, such as grazing by livestock. These sites generally are lower and warmer than sites in pikas’ core range.

So, yes, humans are problematic, but, this is an environmental issue, not anthropogenic climate change.

Funny how all these animals that climate cultists say are doomed end up doing well, right?

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3 Responses to “Bad News, Folks: ‘Climate Change’ Is Not Wiping Out Pikas”

  1. Hairy says:

    Pikas were never on the endangered list
    They are listed in the list of “least concern”
    Shoujd have checked that Teach
    You know I was going to check

    • alanstorm says:

      I have been hearing for years that pikas were a “canary in the coal mine” species because they were SO sensitive to minuscule changes in climate.

      Oops. Apparently not.

      Yet another sacred cow shot down.

  2. Trump is killing the pikas is what I heard . He built a wall keeping them out of the blueberry patch .

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