Australia officially declared a Great Barrier Reef rodent extinct, making it the first mammal believed to have been killed off by human-induced climate change.
The rat-like Bramble Cay Melomyswhose only known habitat was a small sandy island in far northern Australia has not been spotted in a decade.
A key factor in its disappearance was “almost certainly” repeated ocean inundation of the cay a low-lying island on a coral reef over the last decade, which had resulted in dramatic habitat loss.
The researchers completed a wide-ranging survey in 2014 in a bid to track down the species, but found no trace.
Available data on sea-level rise and weather events in the Torres Strait region “point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay Melomys”.
The Melomysrubicola , considered the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species, was first discovered on the cay in 1845 by Europeans who shot the “large rats” for sport.