DFG Invites Public Comment on American Pika Proposal

Media Contacts:  
Scott Osborn, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 324-3564
Cristen Langner, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8907

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is seeking public comment on a proposal to list the American pika as an endangered or threatened species.

Photo courtesy of A. Tshcherbina

American pikas (Ochotona princeps) are small lagomorphs (relatives of rabbits and hares) that inhabit broken-rock habitats such as mountain talus slopes. In California, they typically live at moderate-to-high elevations in the southern Cascades, Sierra Nevada and mountain ranges of the Great Basin. Climate change is considered to be the primary factor that impacts pika populations in California, although mining, grazing, disease and other factors may have an effect as well.

In April 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to the Fish and Game Commission to formally list the American pika as a threatened or endangered species. As part of the status review process, DFG is soliciting public comment regarding the pika’s ecology, biology, life history, distribution, abundance, threats, essential habitat and recommendations for management.

Comments, data and other information must be submitted in writing to:

California Department of Fish and Game
Nongame Wildlife Program
Attn: Scott Osborn
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Comments may also be submitted by email to pika@dfg.ca.gov.

All comments received by March 15, 2012 will be included in a DFG report to the Commission that will be submitted on or before the due date of Oct. 26. Following the receipt of the report, the Commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any action on DFG’s recommendation.

DFG’s petition evaluation report for the American pika can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/publications/.