The New Mexico Pika Monitoring Project

If you are a hiker who visits the highest peaks of New Mexico, you may
have spotted pikas among the talus fields or heard their "eek" alarm call.
Pikas look like small rabbits and are often described as “terminally cute.”
The American pika lives among the most stunning scenery in North
America - typically on mountains above 8000 feet elevation -
from California to New Mexico and north into Canada.

Like polar bears, pikas have gained attention as early indicators of the

effects of climate change on wildlife. In the case of pikas, it is not sea
ice that they require but mountain peaks that are cool in summer and
have a blanket of insulating snow in winter - both of which are being
altered by climate change.

The pika was recently proposed for inclusion on the list of endangered species, but the US Fish and
Wildlife Service determined that this status is not warranted at this time. Why? Because the
scientific information about pikas is not yet clear. Pikas seem to be disappearing  from some
mountainous areas but not from others. And in a few places, pikas are found at low elevations and
do well in the warmer temperatures.
Learn more...

Why this project?
Working with a network of agencies and other citizen scientist-based pika monitoring projects
around the West, the
New Mexico Pika Monitoring Project will help to clarify the effects of
climate change on pikas. It will collect information that will be used by the US Fish and Wildlife
Service and other wildlife managers to evaluate the range-wide status of pika and make informed
management decisions so that pikas continue to thrive.

Citizen Scientists began monitoring the impacts of climate change on pika populations in New
Mexico in the summer of 2011. The project continues in 2013, with new trainings of citizen
scientists and more field work in the Pecos Wilderness. Interested? Read on... and be in touch.

Citizen Science - What's That?

Citizen science gives volunteers the opportunity to get their hands dirty, use their brains, visit some
spectacular places, work with other great volunteers, have a little fun, and most importantly, to have
an impact on conservation in New Mexico. It goes far beyond the typical environmental education
class or volunteer clean up day to fully immerse volunteers in environmental stewardship. The New
Mexico Pika Monitoring Project is a unique opportunity, but it is also a serious commitment.
Training will be provided by Seventh Generation Institute. Each volunteer will be required to
complete class room and field-based training and must be sufficiently fit to hike into high-elevation

Interested in Becoming a Citizen Scientist?
If you have ever thought that you want to really make a difference, citizen science may be the
program for you. For more information on volunteering:

View citizen science
training slideshow from summer 2012
Visit our
volunteer page to learn when recruitment will be happening.
send an email to 7GI.
Project Collaborators

  • The National Park Service - Pikas in Peril
    program and individual parks
  • North American Pika Consortium
  • Teton Science Schools
  • Denver Zoo
  • Craighead Institute
  • University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Colorado State University
  • Mountain Studies Institute.
  • Rocky Mountain Wild
  • The Center for Native Ecosystems
Programs and Projects
Sally Thomson Photograpy
June 17, 2012
Albuquerque Journal North feature on

The New Mexico Pika Monitoring
Join the intrepid volunteers and others
who talk about their
surveying for pika in the Pecos Wilderness.
Sally Thomson Photography
Sally Thomson Photography
Sally Thomson Photography
Sally Thomson Photography