Endangered Easter Bunnies??

Pika, via Jon Noad/NWF

While I’m not one to despoil the fantasies of children by pointing out this weekend’s spokesbunny doesn’t exist, there is a very real threat that the American pika, the mountain bunny of the Rockies, could soon become a figment of our memory.

Global warming is pushing the mountain-dwelling pika to higher and higher altitudes as their habitat disappears right out from underneath their furry paws. The pika is adapted to cold temperatures and can die from overheating. Rising summer temperatures reduce their ability to gather food and have already led to dramatic losses of lower-elevation populations as they are pushed upslope.

via Flickr, wildxplorer

One year ago, however, the Obama administration denied Endangered Species Act protection to the American pika, and other climate change-imperiled species, such as the spotted seal off Alaska and emperor penguins.

But this morning Think Progress pointed to a new study to be published in Global Change Biology, that finds local populations of pikas are disappearing faster than ever.

Local extinction rates of American pikas  increased nearly five-fold in the last 10 years, and the rate at which the climate-sensitive species is moving up mountain slopes has increased 11-fold since the 20th century, according to the American West scientists.

Today, even as the pika and other species dependent on mountaintop ecosystems watch their habitat melt away, some of our most important basic wildlife conservation laws are under attack. You can speak up here.