First Mammal Species to be Recognized as Extinct Due to Climate Change

In June 2016, scientists reported that the small rodent Bramble Cay melomys (Melomys rubicola) were most likely the first mammal to be extinct because of climate change.

The Australian government has now officially recognized them as extinct. Bramble Cay melomys lived in the eastern Torres Strait of the Great Barrier Reef. The last time the animal was seen was in 2009, spotted by a fisherman.


The island they lived on was at most 10 feet above sea level. Since 1998, the island has shrunk from 9.8 acres to 6.2 acres. That means the island's vegetation has been shrinking, and the rodents have lost about 97 percent of their habitat. This was caused by rising sea level, a direct effect of climate change.

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