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Pika: Impacts of Climate Change

Pika2Washington's National Park Fund provided a grant to support the completion of a three-year study to understand climate and habitat factors affecting pika populations in North Cascades National Park in 2010. Native to cold climates, pika are small animals with short limbs, rounded ears and a short tail. Prevalent in mountainous national parks, pika live among the rocks, where there are many crevices to shelter in. Recent research suggests that human activity and global climate change are forcing pika to live in higher elevations, threatening their continued survival. Results from this study will support critical natural resource management decisions.

Continued by the park through 2011, 60 data loggers were placed throughout North Cascades National Park and captured the temperature at ten minute intervals. Temperatures were gathered through the summer of 2011 at both the surface, and below ground where the pika would likely be during the colder months.