American Pika Denied Endangered Species Protection
courtesy via www.americanpika.org
A woman I work with has the sound of an American Pika as her ringtone. It's a high-pitch squeal recognizable to anyone who has heard it before, and she has it on her phone to draw attention to the plight of the Pika, a small furry creature under threat from climate change. The Pika needs help, but it won't be getting it from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which Friday rejected a bid to extend endangered species protection to it.Biologists next week will publish a paper in the Federal Register that says:
"American pika can tolerate a wider range of temperatures and precipitation than previously thought. We have determined that climate change is not a threat at the species- or the subspecies-level now or in the foreseeable future."
The Pika calls California's Sierra Nevada region and nine other western states home, but its population has decreased so precipitously recently that the Center for Biological Diversity sued under the Endangered Species Act for its protection.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have warned that Western temperatures could increase by up to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit by midcentury and by 10 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
in 2008, President Bush's administration ruled that the polar bear was an endangered species but said that greenhouse gas emissions could not be considered in federal project reviews. The Obama administration has followed suite, choosing instead to pursue Congressional legislation instead of using the Endangered Species Act to battle climate change.