The Chinese government has been heavily attacked after they exacerbated their plans to exterminate the pika, a small mouse-like creature that actually inspired the character of Pikachu in Pokemon.
Ecologists from across the world reacted furiously to this decision. Scientists have repeatedly warned China not to proceed with their planned annihilation of the species.
China reached their decision, after they classified the pika as a pest. Officials believe that the pika has been damaging the grasslands in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which is located in Northwest China, and is where the animal lives in a series of vast channels of burrows.
According to the Independent, Arizona State University researchers have been trying to dwindle pika populations since 1958. This was when poisoning programs were first introduced and sanctioned.
In fact, by 2006, zinc phosphate had been placed across 360,000 square kilometers of land in China’s Qinghai province. By the end of 2014, a further 110,000 square kilometers had been contaminated with the poison, at an extra cost of $35 million.
Arizona State’s researchers have now insisted that the pika doesn’t actually damage the Chinese landscape at all. In fact, they have declared that pikas provide benefits to the ecosystem that they’re in.
An article written by Maxwell Wilson and Andrew Smith, both of whom work at Arizona State, for Ambio insisted that the land had already been degraded by the time the creatures arrived.
But more than that, their research actually indicated that the land had actually improved because of the pikas’ burrows. This helped to reduce the possibility of surface flooding, especially during the monsoonal storms that ravage the area throughout the summer months.
In fact, the pikas’ burrows have actually been known to be house the likes of plateau birds and lizards, and if they were to no longer exist, the species would almost certainly disappear or be “greatly reduced.”
In the past, scientists have been so adamant about not making the pika extinct they the Mongolian government listened and stopped poisoning pikas.
But why are the Chinese government yet to follow their advice? Well, it’s because they are very protective of this area. The plateau is actually the source for the 10 of the largest rivers in the world. And this source provides water for about 20 percent of the world’s population, in the likes of Nepal, Thailand, Pakistan, and India.
[Image via 20mn]