U.S. to decide whether climate change is killing small mammal
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The government is expected to decide whether a tiny, mountain-dwelling mammal should become the first animal in the continental United States to get federal protections primarily because of climate change.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision about the future of the American pika is expected Friday. If the pikas become protected under the Endangered Species Act, some legal experts predict it could have ramifications for future climate policies.
The pika – a furry, big-eared relative of the rabbit – lives mostly in high, rocky mountain slopes in 10 Western states.
Pikas are well-suited for alpine conditions but, as temperatures warm, they’re forced to move up-slope. In some places, though, scientists say the pika has run out of room to run and populations have disappeared.