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The pika generally spends its whole live in an area less than a mile square, so might not be able to migrate north as the planet warms.
Environmentalist organization Earthjustice has filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court after the state's Fish and Game Commission rejected a second petition to protect the American pika.
The animal lives in cool, moist and rocky parts of the Sierra Nevada.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the World Wildlife Foundation both cite global warming as endangering the pika, since the animal, a relative of the rabbit, can't easily move north to cooler climes.
Jackson West admits the little critters are pretty adorable.