PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Want to play I Spy this summer? The Oregon Zoo is looking for people to help find American pikas in the Columbia River Gorge, so you’re in luck.
The zoo said that the high-pitched squeaks of pikas, fluffy rabbits about the size of a potato, can be heard on rocky slopes all over the Gorge.
The Oregon Zoo wants people to help find pikas and map their populations so they can keep track of these small animals, which they say are especially at risk from global warming.
On May 11, 12, and 13, the Oregon Zoo is giving a free crash course to help people identify pikas and help with their project, the Cascades Pika Watch.
“By being eyes and ears on the ground, citizen scientists with Cascades Pika Watch can help us understand what’s happening with the pikas in this region,” said Dr. Johanna Varner, Cascades Pika Watch scientific advisor.
“It’s a perfect opportunity to get outdoors and make a meaningful contribution to conservation science.”
The Oregon zoo says that anyone can volunteer for the Cascades Pika Watch and that public hiking trails can reach all of the survey sites.
Training on finding pikas in the wild can be done online, and you can sign up for it here.
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In the past, the Pika Watch tried to track how the Gorge’s pika population was doing after the Eagle Creek fire in 2017.
Oregon Zoo has also shared a tweet related to this exciting news-
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