Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bramble Cay Melomys

Virginia Rufina Marquez-Pacheco
Science & Tech Editor

Once again, the world has sadly witnessed the extinction of yet another animal off the face of the Earth. Indeed, Bramble Cay Melomys has officially been recognized as extinct by both the Australian government and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

This mammal was a small mouse-like rodent that resided solely in Bramble Cay, a small cay in the Torres Strait, near the coast of Papua New Guinea. The mouse was rather large, between 14.8 and 16.5 centimetres, with a tail ranging from 14.5 and 18.5 centimetres. They usually weighed between 78 and 164 grams, and their fur was reddish to greyish brown.

The little-known rodent had not been seen since 2009. Melomys suffered from habitat loss due to the rising sea levels caused by global warming and climate change. It is hypothesized that this loss of habitat is the direct cause of their disappearance. This would be the first known extinction due to the consequences of global warming, although most certainly not the first man-made extinction.

The Australian government in power since 2013 has invested A425$ in animal conservation programs. However, this has not stopped the government from being criticized for too much negligence to the environmental plight by conservation groups.

Whoever is right or wrong in this debate will not change the fact that Melomys is gone, never to return. This species is now yet another one to enter in the history books of what the Earth was once like.

Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 07 on December 4th, 2019