Melomys island habitat near the Great Barrier Reef is inundated by sea water – Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide
Rapidly rising tides eliminate another Australia life form as seawater covers the atoll where the melomys lived up to around 2007.
A small mammal that lived in a small corner of Australia’s increasingly threatened Great Barrier Reef has gone the way of the dodo bird. The Bramble Cay Melomys has succumbed to high tides that have increasingly inundated its home island. The only mammal native to the Great Barrier Reef Ecosystem, the Melomys was declared officially extinct in June 2016. The Cay is located between Cape York Peninsula in Queensland and the south shore of Papua New Guinea.
According to University of Queensland’s Luke Leung: “The seawater has destroyed the animal’s habitat and food source. This is the first documented extinction of a mammal because of climate change.”
While many species are migrating rapidly toward the poles, the Melomys was unable to leave its home. So they all drowned.
In addition to and concurrent with the rising of the seas, the waters of the lower latitudes are also warming. The destruction via bleaching around the Great Barrier Reef this year is another unfolding eco-disaster that gets scant attention in the press.
[For a global view of invasive species and extinction patterns, visit the Extinction Map.]
[For detailed listings of extinct, damn near extinction and invasive species, visit the Extinction and Invasive Species Archives.]