• 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 melomys — whose only known habitat was a small sandy island in far northern Australia — has not been spotted in a decade.
  • Researchers from Queensland determined 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.
  • Australia’s environment ministry said it had officially transferred the animal to the “extinct” list.
  • 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 Melomys rubicola, 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.