Hike in the high country? Volunteer to monitor pikas

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American Pika (Credit: WRNF)

MINTURN, Colo. (KDVR) – The Colorado Pika Project is looking for volunteers to monitor pika populations in their alpine homes.

“Monitoring pika populations across the forest over the long-term will be critical in helping us identify trends as well as give us a deeper understanding of the health of alpine ecosystem,” said Eagle-Holy Cross District Wildlife Biologist Jennifer Prusse.

“We are encouraging hikers who are interested in the future of the pika to be part of this citizen science effort.”

The research project depends on volunteers to provide data from long-term monitoring of the iconic small animals that live in some alpine areas of Colorado and the West.

Rocky Mountain Wild earned the Forest Service’s National 2020 Volunteers and Service Award for Citizen Stewardship and Partnerships for organizing the project.

“We couldn’t make this monitoring program effective on a large scale without the help of this team of dedicated volunteers organized and trained by Rocky Mountain Wild and the Denver Zoo,” said Prusse.

Project partners Rocky Mountain Wild and the Denver Zoo, joined by the Walking Mountains Science Center, are hosting volunteer trainings:

  • June 26 – Loveland Pass,
  • June 27 – Rocky Mountain National Park at Trail Ridge Road
  • July 18 – Rocky Mountain National Park at Grand Lake
  • July 17 – Independence Pass
  • July 25 – Meeker/The Flat Tops
  • July 10, 25 and Aug. 9 – Vail Pass (co-hosted by Walking Mountains Science Center)

“Pikas face an uncertain future, and we need volunteers to help us keep track of how pika habitat is changing,” said Megan Mueller, Conservation Biologist with Rocky Mountain Wild.

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