|Plateau pika range|
The plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae), also known as the black-lipped pika is a species of mammal in the Ochotonidae family commonly known as pika. They prefer to live in elevations of 3,100 to 5,000 m, mostly in the Tibetan Plateau, which is where the common name originates from. The species is found in China, Pakistan, India, and Nepal in high alpine deserts, steppe and meadows, as well as tropical and subtropical montane forests.
According to the Chinese biologists who have studied the wildlife of the Hoh Xil (northern part of the Tibetan Plateau), plateau pikas are the favorite food of the area's brown bears. In addition to its role as a prey base, the plateau pika is important for soil health in meadows; the burrowing of the species helps to aerate the soil. The species is currently considered threatened, mostly due to aggressive poisoning campaigns by Chinese populations, predominantly to eliminate competition for food with livestock.
The plateau pika is a small lagomorph, related to the rabbit. They are reddish tan on the top-side with more of a whitish yellow on their under-belly.
- Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. (2008). Ochotona curzoniae. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 10 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- Xu Aichun, Jiang Zhigang, Li Chunwang, Guo Jixun, Wu Guosheng, Cai Ping, "Summer Food Habits of Brown Bears in Kekexili Nature Reserve, Qinghai: Tibetan Plateau, China". Ursus, Vol. 17, No. 2 (2006), pp. 132–137
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