Scientific Name: Ochotona collaris
Taxonomy Group: Mammals
Range: Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2011
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
The Collared Pika (Ochotona collaris) is a small (~160 g), asocial, alpine-dwelling lagomorph. It is one of two pika species in North America, along with American Pika (O. princeps). Collared Pikas are dull grey with pale grey patches on their napes and shoulders, which form a partial collar around the neck. They display no obvious sexual dimorphism. Pikas have been deemed ‘harbingers of climate change’ because of their demonstrated sensitivity to climate patterns.
This small rabbit-relative is a Beringian relict that is restricted to talus slopes in alpine areas in northern west British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest Territories. This region comprises over half the global range of this species, and is witnessing climate-driven shifts in habitat, temperature, and precipitation at faster rates than elsewhere in Canada. A demonstrated sensitivity to climate variability, coupled with poor dispersal ability and the naturally fragmented nature of its populations, heightens the vulnerability of this small mammal to climate change. The species is well-studied in a very limited portion of its range, but baseline information on population trends at the range level, and a clear understanding of the extent and severity of climate impacts to this species and its habitat in the coming decades is limited. However, the best available information suggests that this species may be particularly sensitive to a changing climate, including concomitant increases in precipitation variability, leading to reductions in habitat availability. The potential of negative impacts of climate change to the persistence of this species over the long term is substantial.
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of assessments conducted under subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act, makes the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.
Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”.
COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (September 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) from November 21 to 25, 2011 and from April 29 to May 4, 2012. On February 3, 2012, an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee of COSEWIC also assessed the status of the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). During the current reporting period COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 67 wildlife species.
For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern).
The wildlife species assessment results for the 2011-2012 reporting period include the following:
Special Concern: 15
Data Deficient: 2
Not at Risk: 6
Of the 67 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 49 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment (see Table 1a).
As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.
Please submit your comments by
March 4, 2013, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations
October 4, 2013, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.