Climate change claims its first casualty in world's largest coral reef system

Bramble cay

  • The Australian government officially moved the rodent-like Bramble Cay melomys to the ‘extinct’ species list.
  • The species’ only known home was the world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys is reported as the first casualty of climate change.
Scientists have long asserted that coral reefs are the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change and the environmental threat has reportedly claimed its first casualty — the Bramble Cay melomys.

Residing in the world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, the rodent-like animal hasn’t been seen in over a decade according to researchers from Queensland — and they’ve been looking since 2014.

Australia’s Ministry of Environmental officially shifted the Bramble Cay melomys to the ‘extinct’ list on Tuesday.


Significantly, this probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change.

Queensland state government report

A study from 2016 even stated that human-induced climate change was primary reason behind the loss of the species.

The Australian government has been criticized for not doing enough to protect endangered species, not only in terms of policy, but also in terms of not allocating enough funds for conservation.


In 2017, the National Academy of Sciences published a paper that warned of Earth’s sixth mass extinction event already being underway resulting in ‘biological annihilation’. They analysed that there was a high degree of population decay in land-based vertebrate species — even in population of ‘species of low concern’.

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