Sunday, 19 June 2016

RIP Bramble Cay melomys

The Bramble Cay melomys has the distinction of being the first mammal to be driven to extinction by climate change.

The Bramble Cay melomys is, well was, a small rodent found on a single coral island in the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. When first recorded by Europeans there were many animals. Even in 1978 there were 'several hundred' but the melomys has not been seen since 2009 and is believed extinct.

According to a report by University of Queensland scientists the extinction was due to habitat loss caused by a combination of "severe meteorological events [and] anthropogenic climate change-driven sea-level rise". Sea levels rose particularly fast in this area and the area of vegetation shrank from 2.2 ha in 2004 to 0.065 ha in 2014.

The authors commented that “Significantly, this probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change”.


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