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Pika Not Endangered By Climate Change

From a clearly annoyed New York Times:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Says Pika Not Imperiled by Climate Change

By TODD WOODY
February 8, 2010

The Obama administration has determined that the American pika, a small rabbit-like mammal, is not threatened by climate change.

The decision underscores how the Endangered Species Act has become the latest battlefield in the fight over global warming.

Environmentalists consider the pika to be the animal most vulnerable to climate change in the continental United States due to its inability to survive even small increases in temperature.

The pika lives on alpine mountain ranges throughout the West and as average temperatures have increased in recent decades, some populations have disappeared at lower elevations while others have moved to higher peaks, according to scientific studies.

In an initial finding issued last April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that protecting the pika under the Endangered Species Act “may be warranted because of the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range as a result of effects related to global climate change.”

But after a full review, government scientists have now concluded the pika could survive temperatures projected to increase 3 degrees Celsius in its mountain habitat as well as the loss of snowpack, which the animals depend on for shelter. “The American pika has demonstrated flexibility in its behavior and physiology that can allow it to adapt to increasing temperature,” the scientists wrote in the finding released Friday.

Greg Loarie, an attorney who represents the Center for Biological Diversity, the environmental group that petitioned to list the pike as endangered, said studies do not support’s the government’s position.

“The science is very clear that pika populations are collapsing at least in the Great Basin of the Western United States, and even in strongholds like the Sierra Nevada in California lower level populations are beginning to move upslope,” said Mr. Loarie, an attorney with EarthJustice, an environmental law firm.

“The conclusion that pikas are not even threatened by climate change is not warranted,” he said.

The thick-coated pika, which in the southern portion of its range lives at elevations of 8,200 feet, does not hibernate and thus maintains a high internal temperature to survive frigid winters. Since it can’t turn off its heater, the pika can perish in the summer if its body temperature increases by as little 3 degrees Celsius.

Even if the Obama administration had listed the pika as threatened or endangered by climate change, it’s unclear whether the government would have been compelled to curtail greenhouse gas emissions to help protect the species

Mr. Loarie said his client has not decided whether to pursue a lawsuit to reverse the pika ruling.

In California, meanwhile, the Center for Biological Diversity, has sued to force regulators to consider protecting the pika under the state endangered species act.

“A listing of the pika would drive home that climate change is not just having an impact on arctic regions but in our own backyard,” said Mr. Loarie.

What a relief.

Still, that it even got this close is outrageous.

Just imagine, we are seriously talking about the government compelling us to curb our ‘gas emissions’ to protect a species.

Surely, this is not what the Framers had in mind.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, February 8th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “Pika Not Endangered By Climate Change”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Pikas are the coolest little critters. Way up above tree-line they live lives of industry and thrift and long long naps in winter. And incredibly curious, which is a cuteness factor off the charts. But you have to pay a price to get up where they are. They live where they live so they mostly aren’t bothered. Kinda like Conservatives.

    Their little cries and barks when up in the highest peaks are a treat.

    And I guarantee you they are tougher than any change in the weather, any bureaucratic hand wringing, tougher even than Michelle Obama’s heart. They’ll outlive us all.

  2. proreason says:

    Wait a minute.

    I thought evolution was all about survival of the fittest. Conditions change, animals adapt, the ones that can’t adapt go extinct.

    Don’t we believe in that anymore.

    Or has the government now stepping in to reverse the laws of nature?

    • GetBackJack says:

      Oh hell, no, PR. The Warmmongers and enviro-fascists are all about Stasis.

      Everything must stay the way it is. Nothing can change. That’s the only way Timmy can go on unafraid.

  3. joeblough says:

    Undoubtedly the little Pika was here long before we showed up, lived through all the changes in the world since then, and will be chirping and squeeking merrily long after the last enviro-nazi has gasped out his last dying lie.

    And if he were bigger than us he’d be looking for ways to catch us and eat us.

  4. bill says:

    Are they good to eat? Pika, isn’t that a rat? They like cold climates, so they should be fine with the coming ice age.

    Earth’s climate always changes, been doing so for billions of years. And the sturdy little pika is still here.

    • VMAN says:

      I was just wondering, myself, If they were good to eat. I’ll bet they’re mighty tasty if grilled up the right way although they don’t look very meaty.

  5. NoNeoCommies says:

    Just convince the religious zealots of the enviro-whacko church of “No You Can’t Use Your Resources!” that the Pika can’t be used to stop us from actualy utilizing nature for our own benefit and they will forget the whole thing.

    Their “Furry Little Friends” are only nails for them to hammer into the casket they are trying to bury our freedom in.

  6. Right of the People says:

    Animals are only important to the lefties if they’re cute. Fortunately for the pika it passes the test.

    I bet there was a huge let down for the enviro-fascists when this report came out, must have been a lot of weeping in their grass tea.

  7. Chuckk says:

    It goes against common sense to think a small variation in temperature will cause something to go extinct.


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