The Conversation: Pikas are NOT Dying Out from Global Warming

Arizona Emeritus Professor of Life Sciences using using personal observations to challenge the wild climate model predictions and the scientific consensus of his colleagues.

Pikas are adapting to climate change remarkably well, contrary to many predictions

January 8, 2021 3.30am AEDT
Andrew Smith
Professor Emeritus of Life Sciences, Arizona State University

Climate change is harming many special places and iconic species around our planet, from Glacier National Park’s disappearing glaciers to California redwoods scorched by wildfires. But for the animal I study, the American pika (Ochotona princeps), there’s actually some good news: It’s not as threatened by climate change as many studies have warned. 

I have studied pikassmall cousins of rabbits, for over 50 years and never tire of watching them. These tailless, egg-shaped balls of fluff live primarily in cool mountainous environments in piles of broken rock, called talus.

When fellow hikers see me observing pikas in California’s Sierra Nevada, they often tell me they have read that these animals are going extinct. I have collected a stack of press releases that say exactly that. But based on my recent research and a comprehensive review of over 100 peer-reviewed studies, I believe that this interpretation is misleading.

As the world’s climate warmed, pika populations retreated to the high mountains of the western U.S. and Canada. Today they occupy most of the available talus habitat in these areas – evidence that challenges the pikas-on-the-brink narrative. 

For example, in recent surveys, pikas were found at 98% of 109 suitable sites in Colorado, and at 98% of 329 sites in the central Sierra Nevada. One study of historic pika sites across California’s Lassen, Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks found no evidence that pikas were moving to new sites or higher altitudes due to climate change.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/pikas-are-adapting-to-climate-change-remarkably-well-contrary-to-many-predictions-150726

I must say I applaud Professor Smith’s courage.

We’ve all seen what happens to professors who dare to present evidence to challenge the wild climate assertions of their colleagues; they get removed from their university posts, have their offices attacked by gunmen, stop getting invites to parties, and sometimes even lose their library passes.

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January 8, 2021 at 12:03PM

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