PikaPhoto: Kimon BerlinIs the pika America’s cutest rodent lagomorph? Think fast about that one, because global warming is herding it towards extinction. A recent study published in Global Change Biology found almost a fivefold increase in the local extinction rate of pikas. We’ve put together a slideshow, so you can get your fill of their cuddly little faces before it’s too late. (You can also get a free, annoying pika squeak ringtone for your phone, if you’re worried about their calls disappearing from our mountainsides.)




Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.


Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!



Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

PikaPhoto: Kimon Berlin

Pikas are adapted for cold climates, and they use snow for insulation and food storage.

PikaPhoto: Mahalie Stackpole

One earlier study suggested that pikas might be able to withstand the effects of climate change by hiding out inside rock formations where the air is cooler. But the new research indicates that they’re seriously threatened.

PikaPhoto: Alastair Rae

The study found that the habitat for surviving pikas was shrinking — they had been driven 145 meters higher up the slopes of their native mountains since the 1990s, at more than ten times the rate of retreat seen in the previous part of the 20th century.

PikaPhoto: Kimon Berlin

Here, a lone pika contemplates the fate of his race.

Pokemon PikaPhoto: Ben James

Without action on climate change, this may be all we have left.