American Pika (Ochotona princeps) Credit: Jon Levasseur
BILLINGS, Mont – Federal Wildlife officials have rejected a petition for more protection for the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) under the Endangered Species Act.
According to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Pika are vanishing from mountainous areas across the American West due to climate change.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) spokesman Brian Hires is quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the USFWS did not consider the USGS study before making the decision. Hires went on to tell the AP the study was not published earlier, when a petition was submitted in the spring.
In addition to the Pika, USFWS rejected petitions for protection for five other species. Those species include the Fourche Mountain Salamander, Ricord's Rock Iguana, Wyoming Pocket Gopher as well as two Alaskan birds.
USFWS officials say petitions for protection for four other species have been approved. Those species include the Florida Scrub Lizard, Lesser Virgin Islands Skink, Joshua Tree and Lassics Lupine. Joshua Trees of course are well known, having a National Park named in their honor.