The pika has adapted to life in areas that rarely get above freezing and can overheat and die when exposed to temperatures as mild as 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists believe the American pika, a mountain-dwelling relative of the rabbit, is heading for extinction and will be one of the first mammals to fall victim to climate change. The American pika was to be the poster animal for combatting global warming (after the polar bear, of course). If there were such a thing as a living, breathing barometer for climate change, it would probably be the American pika (Ochotona princeps).The … The American pika has been thought to be the canary in the coal mine when it comes to the effects of climate change on alpine wildlife. The American pika is a charismatic, diminutive relative of rabbits that some researchers say is at high risk of extinction due to climate change. Popular belief dictates that warming temperatures will push the highly temperature-sensitive animals upslope. A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found that whole populations of the tiny mammal are disappearing due to climate change. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) has been known to employ a number of behavioral responses to the impacts of climate change, including changes to … The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is traditionally thought of as a canary in the coal mine when it comes to America's rising temperatures.Making their homes high up in the cooler mountain regions of western North America, these adorable critters can overheat in high temperatures – making them incredibly sensitive to climate change. Environmentalists have worried about the pika for years, and there is plenty of evidence that the animal is threatened by climate change. American Pikas are effected by climate change because of: Specialized Habitat The American Pika is adapted to live only in special habitat. The American pika is a tiny animal – about 6 inches long – but scientists say it’s sending a big message about climate change. Pikas live in high mountain ecosystems that are cool and moist. After studying the cute critters from 2012 to 2015, … The American pika, a pint-size rabbit relative, is feeling the heat: Hotter summers induced by climate change are threatening these cute creatures' habitats throughout the western United States. Without protection and help, American pikas could be the first species to go extinct due to climate change.