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Obama won't protect the Pika

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if there ever was an issue this community could unite around, I knew this could be it! Save the Pika :fahq:

 

Obama won't protect pika endangered by climate change

by RLMiller

 

The pika, pronounced as "Bye-Bye, Ms American Pie-ka" is neither a yellow Pokemon nor a font, but a hamster-sized rabbit relative. It lives throughout the Western United States at high elevations, and it's extremely sensitive to changes in temperature, dying after only a few hours of 78 degree temperature. Which makes it the pocket-sized poster child for climate change (the larger version being white, furry, and ursine).

 

Last May, the Fish & Wildlife Service agreed to consider listing the pika. In an eyebrow-raising move, the agency noted that its potential decline was caused solely by climate change, not by other human-caused events such as habitat destruction. The decision was due February 1, 2010.

 

The pika lives at or near mountaintops known as sky islands. Individual pikas' range is about 2 kilometers, so they can't simply abandon one mountain for an adjacent one. A January 2010 article in the journal BioScience describes the pika's plight, which generally is more sensitive to longer hotter summers than to particularly hot but isolated days:

 

"The problem with global warming is that if [pikas] lose [their] snowpack, which provides insulation in winter, they freeze to death, and if the ambient air temperature heats up too much in summer, then they fry. That's the challenge," Peacock says, who has studied pika population genetics. "They're already at the top of the mountain. If you heat it up substantially, there's no place for them to go."

 

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Not an animal, but white bark pines face similar problems. Trees can grow at higher elevations, but eventually they reach the top of the mountain. They provide food for animals.

 

In early December, the National Resource Defense Council submitted petitions to have the whitebark pine listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Program. In light of this petition, it seems timely to point toward several interesting science articles available regarding whitebark pine, the species that depend on it, and the potential impacts of climate change on the species.

Several species have close relationships with whitebark pine. In the early 1980's, the symbiotic relationship between whitebark pine and Clark's nutcracker birds was established: the birds help disperse seeds (which are not released from the cone and spread by wind) by creating seed caches for their winter food supply. The seeds that are not eaten have a chance to germinate. Because of the high fat and protein content, grizzly and black bears also use whitebark pine seeds as a significant component of their annual calorie intake.

 

White bark pines

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Well.... There'll be much more effort to "save" the white pines as long as idiots build second homes and cabins in beetle kill forests. We've had some doozies for fires here in Wyo. lately.

 

Maybe we can save the Pika if they can be proven useful for fur hats or animal (cat?) food. Anyone know the folks at Arc'Teryx?

Edited by Coldfinger

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nice to see that at least ONE species of rodent is capable of being eradicated :)

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nice to see that at least ONE species of rodent is capable of being eradicated :)

 

Dude - it's not a rodent. Genus Ochotonidae in the Lagomorpha family (rabbits and hares). Sheesh! :moondance:

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there's pikas living at river level in places along the columbia... not all pikas are as temperature sensitive as that article would have you believe - in part because if they hang out under a few meters of blocky talus it stays pretty cool in there even when it hits 100f outside

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More terrible news:

 

Wolverine numbers 'melting away'

By Matt Walker

Editor, Earth News

 

The wolverine, a predator renowned for its strength and tenacious character, may be slowly melting away along with the snowpack upon which it lives.

 

Research shows wolverine numbers are falling across North America. Their decline has been linked to less snow settling as a result of climate change.

 

The study is the first to show a decline in the abundance of any land species due to vanishing snowpack.

 

Details of the wolverine's decline are published in Population Ecology.

 

The wolverine lives in boreal forest across Scandinavia, northern Russia, northern China, Mongolia and North America, where it ranges mostly across six provinces or territories of western Canada.

 

This largest member of the weasel family eats carrion and food it hunts itself, including hares, marmots, smaller rodents and young or weakened ungulates.

 

It has evolved for life on the snowpack, having thick fur and outsized feet that help it move across and hunt on snow.

 

Striking trend

 

Wildlife biologist Dr Jedediah Brodie of the University of Montana, in Missoula, US, wondered how climate change might be having an impact on snowpack levels, and on the animals that depend on it.

 

He had previously researched how declining levels of snow in the US Yellowstone National Park, caused by climate change, was changing the abundance of aspen trees and how elk feed on them.

 

Dr Brodie and his colleague, Professor Eric Post of Pennsylvania State University, at University Park, US, gathered data on snowpack levels across six provinces or territories of Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and the Yukon Territory.

 

In all bar the Yukon, he found that snowpack depth declined significantly between 1968 and 2004.

 

Other studies have shown corresponding rising temperatures and declining precipitation across much of the western US.

 

"It occurred to me that a good first place to look for ecological impacts of that snowpack decline would be with a snow-adapted species like the wolverine," Dr Brodie told the BBC.

 

"Fortuitously, Canada has good records of both snowpack trends over time as well as trends in the harvest of all sorts of fur-bearing animals."

 

So Dr Brodie and Professor Post examined the records of wolverine numbers caught by fur trappers over the same period.

 

They found a striking correlation between declining snowpack and falling numbers of the predator.

 

"In provinces where winter snowpack levels are declining fastest, wolverine populations tend to be declining most rapidly," the researchers wrote in the journal article.

 

"Spring snowpack also appears to influence wolverine population dynamics."

 

The researchers found only one territory, the Northwest Territories, where wolverine numbers are increasing. There, snowpack levels are declining but they remain much higher and less variable than in most other provinces.

 

Food scarcity

 

Dr Brodie cannot be sure why wolverine numbers are falling, but he has his suspicions.

 

"Recent work shows that wolverines appear to use areas with deep snowpack for dispersal. So reduced snowpack could make dispersal more difficult or dangerous, potentially reducing the success rate with which individuals can establish new home ranges," he says.

 

"Reduced snowpack may also make it harder for wolverines to get food, for several reasons.

 

"First, harsh winters and deep snow are major causes of mortality for ungulates like elk, moose, deer and caribou.

 

"If milder winters mean that fewer of these animals die over the course of the winter, then there will be fewer carcasses for wolverines to feed on," he explains.

 

"Wolverines also hunt rodents, and this food source may be important for wolverine reproductive success in some areas.

 

"But shallower snowpack is bad for a lot of rodents because it provides less insulation from the cold.

 

"So if declining snowpack reduces rodent abundance, that could be bad for wolverines."

 

Dr Brodie believes that his is the first study to show a decline in species abundance due to a reducing snowpack - for any land animal, not just those in North America.

 

But he says there are interesting parallels in marine systems.

 

"For example, sea ice is critical for polar bear foraging."

 

Polar bear body condition, reproductive rates, and survival have declined significantly in Hudson Bay as sea ice breaks up earlier in the spring, he says.

 

"At the other end of the globe, Antarctic sea ice has increased over recent decades.

 

"This may have negative impacts on adelie penguin populations that depend on ice-free areas for breeding and foraging.

 

"But we don't have to just sit back and watch climate change drive animals extinct," he says.

 

"As climate change worsens, we should reduce trapping levels and also disturbance to boreal forest habitats.

 

"Reducing the impact of these anthropogenic stressors could help 'offset' the impacts of climate change on wolverines."

 

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8494000/8494397.stm

Edited by prole

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there's pikas living at river level in places along the columbia... not all pikas are as temperature sensitive as that article would have you believe - in part because if they hang out under a few meters of blocky talus it stays pretty cool in there even when it hits 100f outside

indeed - i see those fuckers everywehre in the gorge and believing they're endangered is as hard to swallow as marmots being on the block :)

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More terrible news:

 

Wolverine numbers 'melting away'

By Matt Walker

Editor, Earth News

 

The wolverine, a predator renowned for its strength and tenacious character, may be slowly melting away along with the snowpack upon which it lives.

 

Research shows wolverine numbers are falling across North America. Their decline has been linked to less snow settling as a result of climate change.

 

The study is the first to show a decline in the abundance of any land species due to vanishing snowpack.

 

Details of the wolverine's decline are published in Population Ecology.

 

The wolverine lives in boreal forest across Scandinavia, northern Russia, northern China, Mongolia and North America, where it ranges mostly across six provinces or territories of western Canada.

 

This largest member of the weasel family eats carrion and food it hunts itself, including hares, marmots, smaller rodents and young or weakened ungulates.

 

It has evolved for life on the snowpack, having thick fur and outsized feet that help it move across and hunt on snow.

 

Striking trend

 

Wildlife biologist Dr Jedediah Brodie of the University of Montana, in Missoula, US, wondered how climate change might be having an impact on snowpack levels, and on the animals that depend on it.

 

He had previously researched how declining levels of snow in the US Yellowstone National Park, caused by climate change, was changing the abundance of aspen trees and how elk feed on them.

 

Dr Brodie and his colleague, Professor Eric Post of Pennsylvania State University, at University Park, US, gathered data on snowpack levels across six provinces or territories of Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and the Yukon Territory.

 

In all bar the Yukon, he found that snowpack depth declined significantly between 1968 and 2004.

 

Other studies have shown corresponding rising temperatures and declining precipitation across much of the western US.

 

"It occurred to me that a good first place to look for ecological impacts of that snowpack decline would be with a snow-adapted species like the wolverine," Dr Brodie told the BBC.

 

"Fortuitously, Canada has good records of both snowpack trends over time as well as trends in the harvest of all sorts of fur-bearing animals."

 

So Dr Brodie and Professor Post examined the records of wolverine numbers caught by fur trappers over the same period.

 

They found a striking correlation between declining snowpack and falling numbers of the predator.

 

"In provinces where winter snowpack levels are declining fastest, wolverine populations tend to be declining most rapidly," the researchers wrote in the journal article.

 

"Spring snowpack also appears to influence wolverine population dynamics."

 

The researchers found only one territory, the Northwest Territories, where wolverine numbers are increasing. There, snowpack levels are declining but they remain much higher and less variable than in most other provinces.

 

Food scarcity

 

Dr Brodie cannot be sure why wolverine numbers are falling, but he has his suspicions.

 

"Recent work shows that wolverines appear to use areas with deep snowpack for dispersal. So reduced snowpack could make dispersal more difficult or dangerous, potentially reducing the success rate with which individuals can establish new home ranges," he says.

 

"Reduced snowpack may also make it harder for wolverines to get food, for several reasons.

 

"First, harsh winters and deep snow are major causes of mortality for ungulates like elk, moose, deer and caribou.

 

"If milder winters mean that fewer of these animals die over the course of the winter, then there will be fewer carcasses for wolverines to feed on," he explains.

 

"Wolverines also hunt rodents, and this food source may be important for wolverine reproductive success in some areas.

 

"But shallower snowpack is bad for a lot of rodents because it provides less insulation from the cold.

 

"So if declining snowpack reduces rodent abundance, that could be bad for wolverines."

 

Dr Brodie believes that his is the first study to show a decline in species abundance due to a reducing snowpack - for any land animal, not just those in North America.

 

But he says there are interesting parallels in marine systems.

 

"For example, sea ice is critical for polar bear foraging."

 

Polar bear body condition, reproductive rates, and survival have declined significantly in Hudson Bay as sea ice breaks up earlier in the spring, he says.

 

"At the other end of the globe, Antarctic sea ice has increased over recent decades.

 

"This may have negative impacts on adelie penguin populations that depend on ice-free areas for breeding and foraging.

 

"But we don't have to just sit back and watch climate change drive animals extinct," he says.

 

"As climate change worsens, we should reduce trapping levels and also disturbance to boreal forest habitats.

 

"Reducing the impact of these anthropogenic stressors could help 'offset' the impacts of climate change on wolverines."

 

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8494000/8494397.stm

dood, NOBODY can kill these guys!

wolverines.jpg

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The pika lives at or near mountaintops known as sky islands.

 

"sky islands" :lmao:

 

Sounds almost as catchy as "global warming"

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there's pikas living at river level in places along the columbia... not all pikas are as temperature sensitive as that article would have you believe - in part because if they hang out under a few meters of blocky talus it stays pretty cool in there even when it hits 100f outside

 

I posted to this thread but it was erased?! I said that we have California King Snakes as well, living under the same talus as the Pikas and lots of Scorpions. You hardly ever see any of them, very very rare, until you start turning rocks over and it's a whole nother ecosystem under there. I bet they don't play well together.

 

Hank the Dog goes uber crazy when he gets near these places as he can smell all this activity and knows that they all need to be kilt. I know that there are lots of mice, snakes and scorpions and God knows what else right under Hank in this pic. In fact, nearby here he ducked under those blocks and probably worked his way underground 10-15' and didn't come up for 20 min looking for prey.

Hank_the_dog.jpg

I never take these dogs climbing, but I'd left my full rack up to a #6 Wild Country cam up there just laying on the trail and had to go back the next day. Needed a retriever and not a Terrier I suppose.

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The pika lives at or near mountaintops known as sky islands.

 

"sky islands" :lmao:

 

Sounds almost as catchy as "global warming"

 

Almost as good as "environment" or "ecology"! :lmao:

Hoo-boy, how much further could we keep this one going?

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it's all Obama's fault. Poor Pikas. :anger:

 

everyone knows this Pika thing it's all Bushes fault. :lmao:

Obama inherited it. Obama will save them via US military intervention if needed.

 

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