New app helps monitor Colorado’s pika population |

New app helps monitor Colorado’s pika population

A young pika peers out from some rocks.
Kristi Odom/Courtesy photo

The American pika likes to make its presence known to hikers on many of Colorado’s trails. The close relatives of rabbits live at high elevations and survive in harsh climates, but could be vulnerable to climate change with rising temperatures and earlier-melting snowpacks.

A new app called Pika Patrol launched on the Apple App Store and Google Play store Sept. 26 to help community members and scientists track observations and monitor pika populations. Around 570 volunteers will use the app in Colorado, and the project expects to grow its volunteer base and the area it is studying in the future.

Rocky Mountain Wild and the Denver Zoo partnered to create the Colorado Pika Project, which runs the Pika Patrol app. Users can log pika observations in the app by recording their location, the date, what they saw and heard, how many pikas they detected, the weather conditions and more. The app also allows users to attach photos and videos to their submissions.

Pika Patrol also has information about how to identify pikas and their signs and ways to help pikas through a carbon offset program.

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