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The Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for the Environment of Australia, released a press statement on Feb. 18, 2019, stating that an Australian rodent the Bramble Cay melomys is the first mammal made extinct by climate change induced by humans.
The Bramble Cay melomys has not been seen since 2009. The tiny brown rat lived on a small island off northern Queensland.
The island located in the Torres Strait, south of New Guinea has been flooded continuously by the sea, and it is believed this has destroyed the habitat of the melomys.
In the 1970s, several hundred of the melomys occupied the island. Their population quickly declined, and the rodent was declared endangered by the Queensland state government in 1992.
A University of Connecticut study in 2015 found that if the temperature continues to increase, close to 8 percent of species worldwide could become instinct. Australia, South America, and New Zealand are at the highest risk.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Australia is one of the countries with the highest rate of animal extinction. It is also the home of a large number of endangered species.
The IUCN states 40 species in Australia are extinct, 196 endangered, 106 critically endangered, and 590 species are vulnerable.
Written by Barbara Sobel
Independent: Bramble Cay melomys: Rodent declared first mammal made extinct by human-made climate change
CNN: Australian mammal becomes first to go extinct due to climate change
The Sydney Morning Herald: Australian mammal becomes first to go extinct due to climate change
Featured and Top Image by Ian Bell, EHP, State of Queensland Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License