For my 2013 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, I assisted the group Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation with their Pika Project. I’m extremely happy to announce that I will be doing the same research during my 2015 Continental Divide Trail expedition.
ASC’s primary initiative is to facilitate partnerships between adventure athletes and the researchers who need them to collect data all around the world, especially from remote locations. From Mt. Everest to the Ocean, ASC has asked hundreds of volunteer athletes to make their time outside more meaningful.
The pika is the smallest member of the rabbit family and just darn cute. They are a cold obligate species living in alpine talus slopes. With the world becoming warmer and warmer, that leaves less and less habitat for these cute little balls of fur. Efforts to list the pika as endangered in 2008 were thwarted because there was not enough data. But now, hikers like myself, can help collect data showing the pika’s changing habitat range. The pika are an indicator species of climate change, and as they are at the bottom of the food chain, this could spell all sorts of trouble for other predator species.
Visit ASC’s pika page on iNaturalist.