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President Trump invited to testify in person or in writing, says Pelosi; a battle over the worth of rooftop-solar electricity when it's sold back to the grid; the flu gets an early start; and the value of Texas family caregivers.

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Former Pres. Barack Obama cautioned Democrats to be more moderate, and incumbent Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wins over Trump-backed Republican opponent.

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Yes, They're Adorable - but are They Endangered?

August 21, 2008

Seattle, WA – There are more than 150 endangered species listed in Washington State, but pikas are not among them - at least not yet. Pikas, tiny cousins of rabbits and hares, are at the center of legal action this week as the latest focus in the debate over how climate change threatens wildlife, and a lawsuit has been filed to force the federal government to decide whether to protect the pika under the Endangered Species Act.

Dr. Don Grayson at the University of Washington says pikas need cold weather to survive, and they're moving higher into the mountains as the climate heats up.

"It's kind of a cliché, but picas are canaries, in the sense that their moving upslope is telling us a lot about temperature change. They're one of those animals that we can look at to learn about the impacts of warming in western North America, on mammals as a whole, and on other organisms as a whole."

Greg Loarie, the attorney on the case for Earthjustice, says the suit is a last resort after getting no response to a request made to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service almost a year ago.

"This is an indicator species for global warming, and what the scientists are telling us is that if we lose the pika, we can expect that to be the first of many extinctions driven by climate change."

Loarie says some types of pika have already become extinct in the Great Basin of southern Oregon, eastern California and Nevada, because of their inability to survive in high temperatures.

Grayson says pikas are still okay at high elevations; it's the ones that live on lower mountains that are not surviving. The case was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA