FWS initial review of petition says listing of American pika may be warranted
74 Fed. Reg. 21301 / Vol. 74, No. 87 / Thursday, May 7, 2009
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service / 50 CFR Part 17 / Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the American Pika as Threatened or Endangered with Critical Habitat
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the American pika (Ochotona princeps) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing of the American pika may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a status review of the species, and we will issue a 12-month finding to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial data regarding this species. We will make a determination on critical habitat for this species if, and when, we initiate a listing action.
SEE ALSO: New York Times article, Center for Biological Diversity news release, and prior ESA blawg.
The American pika (photo from NPS) is a small montane mammal in the order Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares, and pikas) distributed discontinuously throughout the alpine and sub alpine areas from central British Columbia and Alberta into the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and the Sierra Nevada of California. A generalist herbivore that does not hibernate, the species relies on harvested stockpiles of summer vegetation stored within talus openings to persist throughout the winter months. Temperature restrictions influence the species’ distribution because hyperthermia (heat stroke) or death can occur after brief exposures to ambient temperatures greater than 25.5 °C (77.9°F). The petitioner states that global climate change is the gravest threat to the long-term survival of the American pika… By conducting extensive surveys between 1994 and 1999 at historic sites known to have harbored pikas, a study of Great Basin pika populations found that 7 of 25 populations appeared to have experienced recent extirpation.