The need for community science

Why the Colorado Pika Project exists

Researchers have conclusively linked local extinctions of American pika populations to climate change at a number of sites across Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon ( learn more under the “Pikas and climate change” page). Even though Colorado’s pikas are currently stable, the species as a whole is at risk to the effects of continually warming temperatures.

More data is needed in order to help guide wildlife management policies in Colorado and elsewhere, and field data in particular plays a vital role in evaluating the predications made by climate models. Unfortunately, researchers and managers don’t have the funds or capacity to carry out such extensive – and often difficult-to-access – on-the-ground work. This is where community science comes in! 

The Colorado Pika Project enlists community science volunteers—Pika Patrollers—to contribute to one of North America’s most comprehensive long-term datasets on American pikas. This information is being used to help guide the management and conservation of the species: a defining factor in how prepared we’ll be to ensure pikas are able to persist in Colorado for many decades to come.


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Photo Credits:

Lauren Buchholz