Bramble Cay Melomys – 1st Mammal Species Goes Extinct
Increasing Global Warming is the root cause of all climate changes. Climate changes are slight in some cases and drastic in the others. In one such recent incident, 1st mammal species goes extinct. The Bramble Cay Melomys (Melomys Rubicola), a small rodent, is most likely the first mammal to go extinct owing to climate change.
The Bramble Cay Melomys lived only on a single island off Australlia. It is named after its home, Bramble Cay. The rodent is also called the mosaic-tailed rat. The island is barely a 10 feet or 3 meters above the sea level.
A scientists report states that the Bramble Cay Melomys seems to have disappeared from its habitat, Eastern Torres Strait of the Great Barrier Reef. The mammal was last seen in 2009 and since attempts to trap any (till late 2014) have failed. This has prompted the scientists to say it is likely extinct.Bramble Cay Melomys was first spotted by the Europeans on the island in 1845. By 1978, there were several hundred of these rodents. Climate change caused the part of island to shrink from 9.8 acres to 6.2 acres. This shrinking started since 1998. This caused a loss of 97% of the rodents habitat.
But since 1998, the part of the island that sits above high tide has shrunk from 9.8 acres to 6.2 acres (4 hectares to 2.5 hectares) which means the island’s vegetation has been shrinking, and the rodents have lost about 97 percent of their habitat.
Ian Gynther and his team from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection state:
“The key factor responsible for the extirpation of this population was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, very likely on multiple occasions, during the last decade, causing dramatic habitat loss and perhaps also direct mortality of individuals.”
They also add:
“For low-lying islands like Bramble Cay, the destructive effects of extreme water levels resulting from severe meteorological events are compounded by the impacts from anthropogenic climate change-driven sea-level rise.”
From 1901 to 2010, sea levels have risen around the by almost 8 inches (20 cm). While around Torres Strait, sea level rose at almost twice the global average rate between 1993 to 2014. Compared to the last 6,000 years, this rate has been exponential.
- Bramble Cay Melomys : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bramble_Cay_melomys
- Bramble Cay Survey Report : https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/documents/bramble-cay-melomys-survey-report.pdf