Researchers discover new species of pika in Sikkim

Pika: The pika is a species that has been common in North American and Asian countries, but due to global warming, it is slowly disappearing. Despite the disappearances of the species a scientist by the name Nishma Dahala a research scientist has been able to discover a new species of the pika. Since 2010, she has been slowly studying the pika species and carrying out various tests. After a long study, she came across a new species of the pika in Sikkim.


Pikas belong to the family of rabbits and resemble tailless rats. Due to the sensitivity in soaring temperatures, populations of these species are becoming extinct. Pikas have high adaptation to cold and they reside at the top of mountains or in places that have cold temperatures. Due to the increase of global warming, these species are losing their habitat fast.

Pikas are known to live in Asia, but people know so little about the species. The species of pika are similar and this makes it difficult to differentiate them except the use of DNA .Nishma a research scientist collected pika pellets and accessed their DNA in order to identify the different species of pika.

Nishma Dahal (Source)


Nisham took two years in order to get collaborations with various research centers. The Chinese academy of sciences (CHAS), Stanford University and Zoological Museum of Moscow (ZMM) helped her come up with detailed reports and data of the new species. Some of the details included were ecological and morphological data of the new species. The pika species was first confused to the Moupinpika species but had a genetic difference.

The new Pika species seems scarce in Sikkim. The NCBS team has tried searching for the species in other parts of the Himalayan and this includes Arunachal Pradesh, Central Nepal (Annapurna and Langtang) and other regions with no success. Surveys are pending in Bhutan; other areas are eastern Nepal and China. Collaboration with international research centers is needed to see if more of the new pika species of Sikkim exist in other areas of the world.



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