First Mammal Goes Extinct From Manmade Climate Change

We’ve reached a sad milestone: Climate change has claimed its first mammal species. Scientists have been warning us that a large percentage of species will face extinction thanks to manmade global warming, and the future is unfortunately here.

According to The Guardian, climate change’s first mammal victim was an adorable rodent known as the Bramble Cay melomys. Sometimes called a mosaic-tailed rat, the melomys was named after Bramble Cay, an Australian island close to Papua New Guinea, that was the only known home for the species.

The primary reason for the melomys demise is no secret: the rising level of the ocean, a devastating consequence of climate change. Bramble Cay island has flooded on multiple occasions when the sea was particularly high, thereby washing away the rodents’ homes and drowning many of them in the process.

Over the past 20 years, high tide has put more and more of the island underwater. The coastal vegetation that the melomys called home has decreased by 97 percent in the last decade alone.

When we discuss the consequences of a rising sea level (which is already not as often as we probably should), we tend to focus on the human inhabitants who will need to be displaced from their tiny island nations. We pay less attention to the animal species that are vulnerable from the rapidly shifting sea levels, some of which can be found in no other parts of the world.

Scientists last recorded seeing the melomys back in 2009. In 2014, they couldn’t locate a single one, so they conducted an exhaustive search to check on the animal’s status. As the search has turned up fruitless after two years, scientists now think it’s fair to say that the rodent species is extinct.

Extinction seemed farfetched when Europeans first wrote about the “large rats” they encountered in 1845. At the time, they were allegedly everywhere on the island. An informal census on the creature in 1978 found several hundred melomys still in existence.

Although scientists will no longer “recommend” actions for people to take in order to protect the melomys, there are still plenty of reasons to try to safeguard Bramble Cay from further effects of climate change. The island is a place where various types of seabirds breed and, perhaps most importantly, the top spot where green turtles go to mate.

In other words, this destruction of this one small island would leave multiple species in jeopardy. The melomys were just the tip of the (melting) iceberg.

While the melomys will probably get the distinction of being the first to vanish because of climate change, another mammal suffered a similar fate. The Little Swan Island hutia also went extinct following extreme hurricanes. However, an invasion of cats sped along that process, so it wouldn’t be fair to chalk that all up to angry climate conditions.

With humans doing little to address climate change, it’s highly unlikely that the melomys will be the only victim of climate change. With many other beloved creatures receiving pessimistic prognoses from scientists, it’s time to speak up and demand action before it’s too late.

Photo Credit: Ian Bell

336 comments

M. M.
M. Mabout a year ago

TYFS
Maybe somehow... somewhere... a couple is alive... away from human... surviving in secret!

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Deborah J.
Deborah Jabout a year ago

If it's true that big money interests (the 1%) make environmentally destructive decisions for self-serving greed, ordinary people's love of animals and the earth itself aren't strong enough to stop the harm that will be inrceasingly irreversible. Our only chance is for activist organizations using a free press to continue exposing wrongdoing, and agencies with global responsibilities come up with positive action. Thank you, Care2, for chronicling and giving us information.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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federico bortoletto
federico bortolettoabout a year ago

C'è un enorme tristezza in questa notizia. Speriamo bene per il futuro.

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Mark Donner`
Mark Donnerabout a year ago

There is still a chance that this Adani billionaire Indian terrorist, will dump his climate changing Great Barrier Reef destroying coal mining fiasco because the big banking institutions are refusing funding, and there is a rebellion among the Australian people. Australia has a sickening corrupt government of criminals, especially in places like Queensland. Adani is a fat greedy Indian pig who needs to be exiled back to India along with the bribed Australian government criminals receiving kickbacks from that criminal.

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Mark Donner`
Mark Donnerabout a year ago

Australia has a pathetic record when it comes to species. Like all white colonists around the world, they are trespassers on a continent that doesn't belong to them, most of them descended from European convicts. They've wiped out natives and species everywhere they are found with their insatiable greed

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Patricia H.
Patricia Harrisabout a year ago

Chris Ringgold, well, there has been situations where there was a species, thought to be extinct, but was then later on discovered in the distant future.

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Chris Ringgold
Chris Ringgoldabout a year ago

So sad about the Melomy Rat species being extinct. Their photographs & sound recordings are worth Gold (meaning a lot of money & of a huge historical value). Hopefully, more people will do something to prevent the extinction of more beloved creatures.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a year ago

Charles,
You are missing the biggest excuse for these power sources - reliability. Several countries have found that they cannot supply sufficient power continuously with just these sources. They simply cannot meet the demand at this time. Since lack of adequate power is a leading cause of poverty worldwide, this is more that a mere inconvenience. This may change at some future date, but the situation is not as rosy for these technologies as you paint.

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Charles Brexel Sr.
Charles Brexel Sr.about a year ago

* Those who still support nat gas pipes; fracking; nat gas, nuke or coal power; coal mining; Gulf of Mex, Arctic or Atlantic Ocean, any offshore or any new onshore drilling are stuck in the past

* It is perfectly clear that every country in world, many thousands of companies and scores of billions of investment dollars are rushing to install only solar, wind or geotherm - there are absolutely no excuses (NONE) for installing any nat gas pipes, nat gas, nuke or coal power at all and no excuses (NONE) for supporting fracking anywhere

* In 2015, about 90% of all installed, new power in world was solar and wind

* As of 1/1/16 and before, solar and wind are now the PREFERRED OPTIONS for new installs around the world - and that is for 9 out of every 10 new power plants

* Solar and wind are already cheaper than nat gas or coal power - and they will continue to get cheaper for 10 yrs or more

* It is perfectly clear that every country in world, many thousands of companies and scores of billions of investment dollars are rushing to make or use all-electric cars, vans, SUVs, buses, trucks and trains

* It is perfectly clear that we will have many hundreds of thousands of new, 200( ) mile range all-electrics on the road in 2017 and 18 when the affordable 17 Chevy Bolt, 17 Honda Clarity, 18 Tesla Model 3, new 18 Nissan Leaf, new 18 Ford, new 18 Hyundai SUV and many other manufacturers' 200( ) range all-electrics will be massively bought

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