Oregon Zoo needs volunteers for Cascades Pika Watch - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Zoo needs volunteers for Cascades Pika Watch

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An American pika peers out of a talus slope in Mount Rainier National Park. Photo by Zachary Hawn. An American pika peers out of a talus slope in Mount Rainier National Park. Photo by Zachary Hawn.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The Oregon Zoo is looking for volunteers to help out with the Cascades Pika Watch during the 2016 summer season.

Cascades Pika Watch is in its second year. It is a collaboration of organizations and individual pika researchers brought together by the zoo.

American pikas are tiny mammals that have a distinctive, squeak-toy-like call. They typically live on mountain slopes at elevations above 6,000 feet. However, the zoo said a low-elevation population of pikas are living in the Columbia Gorge, which makes it easier for scientist to study them.

During last year's pika watch, 125 members logged 160 observations spanning from North Cascades National Park to Mount Jefferson.

Summer 2016 will be the first year that only citizen scientists, not trained biologists, will be collecting data.

People who would like to volunteer will need to take a crash course in pika identification online, then take a quiz to make sure they can distinguish pikas from similar looking and sounding creatures. The volunteers will then head out into the field to stake out pika locations, then upload their data to a website where it's analyzed by biologists.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit oregonzoo.org/pikawatch.

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