Feds to consider protection for Vail Valley critter | VailDaily.com

Feds to consider protection for Vail Valley critter

Daily file photoPika, which may be listed as an endangered species, can be found on Notch Mountain outside of Minturn.

VAIL, Colorado ” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider whether to protect a rabbit-like, alpine creature known as the American pika, which is found in the Vail-area mountains, because of habitat loss.

The decision comes in an agreement announced Thursday with the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice. The groups sued in August to protect the so-called “boulder bunny” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The government has until May to decide if protection is warranted.

Environmentalists say the pika is losing its cold, high-altitude habitat because of global warming. The American pika cannot survive in warm climate and has been moving to higher elevations as temperatures at lower elevations rise.

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