This Is the First Animal That Has Become Extinct Because of Climate Change

  November 14, 2017

This is the first animal that has become extinct because of human-induced climate change. The little brown rodent is called the Bramble Cay Melomys (Melomys rubicola) and is a former inhabitant of Australia.

Its habitat was the tiny 4 hectare Bramble Cay, located on the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It was last sighted in 2009. The Australian government confirmed its extinction on 18 February 2019. The rodent lived in a tiny portion of this Cay which was once covered with vegetation. But the Cay has been losing ground to the rising sea level. The Cay's area above the high tide line has reduced from its earlier size of 4 hectares to about 2.5 hectares. Similarly, the vegetation that provided food and shelter to rodents had reduced by 97 per cent.

During a 2014 expedition, researchers from the Queensland University could not find any trace of the rodent in the Cay. They highlighted that the Cay was inundated by the ocean multiple times because of storm surges. They squarely put the blame on man-made climate change. Bramble Cay Melomys was probably the only endemic mammal species of the Great Barrier Reef. Its extinction is an early alarm bell about the consequences of climate change on the globe's biodiversity.

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