Australia declares climate change-threatened rodent officially extinct

A small island rodent has become the first known mammal to go extinct because of man-made climate change, the Australian government confirmed.

Australian Environment Minister Melissa Price noted in a statement  this week that the classification of the rodent, Bramble Cay melomys, had been moved from "endangered" to "extinct."

ADVERTISEMENT

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Geoff Richardson, an official with Australia's environment department, told senators that efforts dating back to 2014 had been unsuccessful in finding melomys on Bramble Cay, the island the rodent inhabited.

The government of Queensland, an Australian state, concluded in 2016 that the rodent had gone extinct, likely as a result of climate change.

The rodent was last seen sometime around 2009, according to The Washington Post.

Leeanne Enoch, the environment minister of Queensland, said the rodent's extinction is evidence that "we are living the real effects of climate change right now," according to the Morning Herald.

“We have consistently called on [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison and Melissa Price to show leadership on climate change, instead of burying their heads in the sand," Enoch reportedly added. “How many more species do we have to lose for the federal government to take action?”