Colorado Rocky Mountain Pika Conservation Experience

Join Animalia & Rocky Mountain Wild for a 5-day conservation adventure in the Rocky Mountains from August 7-11 as we search for that elusive Pikachu!  Well, kind of.  We’re actually going to be searching for pikas, the adorable creature that inspired Pikachu’s namesake, as their summer habitats critical insights into the health of the rocky mountain ecosystem.  Come join us as citizen scientists as we conduct pika research across the Rockies, white water raft, and learn about other critical conservation projects in the region such as the restoration of grey wolves.  We have only 20 spots available and it’s first come first serve!

Why this is important 

American Pika’s are believed to be indicators of the impacts of climate change on their high mountain and alpine ecosystems. This means that by surveying pikas, we have a better understanding of exactly how these ecosystems are being impacted by climate change. The Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Wild, CU, are working with citizen scientists, like you, to conduct this important research.

This state-wide data is used to help state and federal agencies implement management strategies that promote the resilience and conservation of alpine ecosystems and natural resources threatened by climate change.

DATES: AUGUST 7-11, 2022

Experience Details


Interested in gaining experience conducting real life conservation research? Love the outdoors and want to experience the Colorado Rocky Mountains? Huge fan of Pokemon-Go and want to see if you can ‘catch them all’ in real life?!

During this 5 day, 4 night conservation experience, you will have a chance to do all that! This all inclusive trip (minus airfare) will give you hands on experience conducting Pika research in Colorado.



The total cost of this trip is $2,000. 40% of this is a donation to Rocky Mountain Wild & the Denver Zoo and 60% of it is covering all accommodations, food, activities, and transportation in Colorado. So all you have to worry about is how you get there and we’ll take care of the rest.


Sunday, August 7

-Fly into Denver, travel to accommodations at The Pad Silverthorne where we will stay for two nights

-Welcome dinner

Monday, August 8

-Field activity: Camera trap setup in Vail Pass (group 1)

Rafting (Group 2)

-Talks by Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Wild

-Group dinner

Tuesday, August 9 

-Field activity: Camera trap setup in Vail Pass (group 2)

-Rafting (group 1)

-Travel to Estes Park, where we will stay at the YMCA of the Rockies for the remaining two nights

-Group dinner

Wednesday, August 10 

-Field Activity: Pika abundance survey

– Wolf Reintroduction guest speaker

-Group dinner

Wednesday, August 11

-Check out of Estes Park accommodations in the morning, travel home


Pikas are small, rodent like animals found throughout high mountain ecosystems in North America.

American pikas are suffering because climate change has brought higher temperatures to their western mountain homes. Pikas have already disappeared from more than one-third of their previously known habitat in Oregon and Nevada.

The pika has adapted to life in areas that rarely get above freezing and can overheat and die when exposed to temperatures as mild as 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike other mountain species that can move to higher altitudes in warming climates, pikas live so high on the mountain that there is no where for them to go. Trapped at the top, alpine wildlife is vulnerable to several of climate change’s damaging effects, including vegetation changes, the invasion of new predators and pests, reduced winter snowpack, and increases in extreme weather events.

The American pika is believed to be an indicator of certain impacts of climate change on alpine ecosystems. Denver Zoo partners with Rocky Mountain Wild, CU Boulder, and several state and federal agencies in the Front Range Pika Project (FRPP) to track how it’s doing.