Whether you’re on a casual stroll on a trail along a gushing mountain river, or on an arduous climb up into the high elevations of the trans-Himalaya, you might well see a flash of fur, a glimpse of a tiny creature scampering about on the ground. Many of us mistake them for some sort of rodent. Few of us realise that these scurrying little mountain companions –weighing only 60 to 400g, are actually lagomorphs, a group consisting hares and rabbits. They are known as Pika. 

Though different species are found across North America and Central Asia, the Himalayas are home to a diverse variety of Pikas too. But they are all too often neglected in the landscape of other majestic species such as snow leopards and wolves. Yet, these rather tiny “mouse-hares” have a unique story to tell us, and Nishma Dahal is one of the few researchers listening. To understand the distribution of the various species of Pikas across the Himalaya, she spent many months in Arunachal Pradesh (mainly Tawang), Sikkim, Nepal (Lantang and Annapurna Conservation Area), Himachal Pradesh (Spiti valley) and Ladakh, between 2010-2015.

Click through the photo story (above) for more.