The pika, a “hamster-like” rodent, is disappearing. To find out why, a team of hamster-like humans investigates. At one point, Natural Geographic Grantee Rob Guralnick refers to the pika as an “alpine denizen”. This has no significance to the larger story, however it’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone use the term “alpine denizen”. (Note: As if this wasn’t enough, Guralnick later uses the phrase “great, charismatic, wonderful taxon”.)
First, the team admires some pika crap. Then, they essentially go into a pika’s cupboard and trash the place. Finally, the team goes back to the lab and surfs around on Google Earth to kill some time.
At the end of the study, it’s determined that global warming is killing the pika. Apparently (I’m paraphrasing here) pikas have an insanely overclocked metabolism that protects them from cold weather. When the weather is warmer than expected, their supercharged internal VTEC explodes and they go out in a blaze of glory. Hopefully, the pika will survive and the majestic call of the pika will be heard for generations to come.