Pika population bounces back in Columbia River Gorge

Pika are making a comeback in the Columbia River Gorge.

No hamsters aren't overrunning the Columbia River Gorge, but it might seem that way as fluffy, small mammals known for their high-pitched squeaks are making a comeback following the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire.

Pika, which are related to rabbits but smaller, with short rounded ears, are thriving within the Gorge, according to studies conducted by the Oregon Zoo's Cascade Pika Watch. In 2018 and 2019, summer volunteers collected more than 2,600 hours of data on the pika. Volunteers found a positive trend post-fire, with populations growing and nearing pre-2017 numbers.