February 12, 2009 in Nation/World

Feds to consider protection for American pika

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a mountain-dwelling American pika is shown. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether the rabbit-like, alpine creature should be listed as an endangered species because it is losing habitat due to global warming.
(Full-size photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider whether to protect a rabbit-like, alpine creature known as the American pika because of habitat loss.

The decision comes in an agreement announced Thursday with the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice. The groups sued in August to protect the so-called “boulder bunny” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The government has until May to decide if protection is warranted.

Environmentalists say the pika is losing its cold, high-altitude habitat because of global warming. The American pika cannot survive in warm climate and has been moving to higher elevations as temperatures at lower elevations rise.

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