First Mammal Climate Extinction – Greens Still Complaining About the Bramble Cay Melomy

Bramble Cay Melomy

Bramble Cay Melomy. State of Queensland [CC BY 3.0 au], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A deceased rat “species” composed of the inbred descendants of a few castaway rats which washed up on a low laying river delta island in Australia’s Cyclone Alley is our warning about the coming great climate change extinction.

‘Our little brown rat’: first climate change-caused mammal extinction

The Morrison government has formally recognised the extinction of a tiny island rodent, the Bramble Cay melomys – the first known demise of a mammal because of human-induced climate change.

The changed status of the Melomys rubicola from the government’s “endangered” to “extinct” category was included without fanfare in a statement released by federal Environment Minister Melissa Price late on Monday.

The limited range of the animal, living on a five-hectare island less than three metres high, left it vulnerable to climate change. However, its 2008 “recovery plan”, drawn up when numbers were likely down to just dozens of individuals, downplayed the risks.

“[T]he likely consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, are unlikely to have any major impact on the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys in the life of this plan,” the five-year scheme stated.

The federal policy director for the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara, said preparation for the plan was limited, and it was never reviewed at its completion in 2013.

The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” Mr Beshara said. “But it was our little brown rat and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”

Read more:

The Bramble Cay Melomy was never going to survive, no matter how many wind turbines Australia constructed.

An island 3m high in a region where massive cyclones with huge storm surges are common is not a recipe for long term survival.

Calling the “extinction” of these doomed castaways a failure of our “responsibility” is absurd.

116 thoughts on “First Mammal Climate Extinction – Greens Still Complaining About the Bramble Cay Melomy

  1. Any species that goes extinct now is due to Climate Change. Just like all severe storms, heat waves, cold waves, floods, and droughts now are all due to anthro-CO2 induced climate change.

    Yeah right.

  2. According to the framework of neo-Darwinism, the exinction of a species is not a bad thing. Not sure why we would care, unless we are assuming another framework. Just an observation.

    • Because humans must not interfere with Nature at all, except when nature is in danger of something. Then we should mobilise civilisation to make sure the creature lives on.

      I’m confused, do we not interfere with nature, or do we interfere?

        • The only people that should think we aren’t Natural are those who believe we were created by Space Aliens and placed here

        • But the rat parents got on this tiny island not from natural processes, but by escape from a ship, made by humans, steered by humans through a series of odds to just this location where the little buggers could fornicate and inbreed. Is this how Nature eveolves a new species? Should we treasure this event, or forget it?
          Rats? Geoff.

        • “…..Technically, mowing your lawn is interfering with nature……”

          How can it be? Aren’t you part of Nature too? Perhaps birds building nests is interfering with Nature….

          Of course, concrete and iron are also natural materials.

        • Which is why true greens don’t have lawns. The green government in Canberra plants succulents instead of grass. They look a bit hideous, but it is the only plant that complies with all their prejudices.

        • Technically, not mowing my lawn will get me fined, unless I have a DNR ecosystem permit for native wildflowers and grasses. 🙂

        • Planting a lawn is interfering with nature. As is building a house and paving a driveway. Not to mention growing food and fiber for clothing.

          • Not to mention killing microbes and bacteria.

            Might explain why so many greenies smell the way they do…

          • Cal,

            I’m sure you’re right.

            Human skin is an ecosystem, just like the human gut. Using soap and deodorant is akin to using pesticides and herbicides on crops. Killing naturally occurring microbes and fungi upsets the balance of the ecosystem.

    • Would that be the archae neoDarwinism, the medi neoDarwinism or the neo neoDarwinism? Or maybe it’s just natural selection theory that says extinction is not a big deal?

      • People who want us to be alarmed about extinctions often hold two mutually-exclusive views: Extinctions are bad, we should try to stop them; and Extinctions are half of the miraculous creative process that made everything good.

        And another contradiction: We are mere material beings, an uppity part of nature; but we are somehow also moral agents responsible for nature, as if some divine being had made imbued us with spirits and made us stewards of the Earth.

        • What it shows is that greens don’t actually believe in evolution. Yes, they intellectually understand that evolution is how we got to where we are now. But emotionally, they think that the world must never change again. It’s why they want to push humanity back to the 1850’s.

          • Naw, not the 1850s. That’s far too recent.

            The Greenbeans want to go back to the early 1500s. In the 1850s, kerosene lamps (first from coal and later from petroleum) replaced whale oil lamps, which replaced tallow candles. No, they want us all living in that book which describes “A World Lit Only By Fire”.

            They’d last maybe a week in cold weather, and I”m being generous when I say that. I like playing dressup and going to the Ren Faire, too, but I have no desire to live without modern plumbing, clean water coming out of my faucets, and a gas stove and furnace.

        • Extinctions that happen naturally are good.
          If man played even the tiniest of roles in the extinction it instantly becomes EVIL.

      • Could also be palaeo-Darwinism. proto-Darwinism, crypto-Darwinism or trans-Darwinism. The Bramble Cay melomys brown rat is the result of breeding between red rats and green rats, hence the color brown and hence its extinction.

        Orange rats are also susceptible to demise because they are the result of breeding between red and yellow rats. Hence the title “On The Oranges Of Species”.

        Mixing green rats with brown rats will produce unpredictable and random results in pigmentation. It is also guaranteed to produce mutant offspring and eventual extinction. This is partly due to the inbreeding resulting from the misplaced sense of infallibility that underpins incestuous procreation practices such as those of the Pharaohs.

        “The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” Mr Beshara said. “But it was our little brown rat and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”

        • They did have a plan to save the rat. They just didn’t get enough money or get organised enough to raise the island. (though that would probably upset the soldier crabs).

          Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men.

      • They were an anomalous hybrid that only existed because of man. Thereby they were an unintended creation of man and by extension…not natural

    • They could just send over some lawyers to replace the rats?

      I’m reminded of the three reasons why lawyers make a good replacement for rats in lab experiments:

      1. Lawyers are much more plentiful than rats
      2. You don’t get as attached to them.
      3. There are some things you can’t get a rat to do.

  3. Measles is in danger of becoming extinct, due to climate change.

    Measles is a disease. But it is our disease. It is our responsibility to make sure that measles persists.

    We are failing. And it is the fault of measles Deniers.

      • When I was a child, mothers used to hold measles parties. So that their children could catch measles, and get over it.

        Once you have had “real” measles, you have lifelong immunity. The measles vaccine does not give you lifelong immunity. You can get “abnormal” measles later in life, thanks to the vaccine. “Abnormal” measles is worse than normal measles. A bit like an adult getting mumps.

        But global warming/climate change, has turned measles into a killer disease.

        The people who complain the loudest about anti-vaxers, are the people who know the least about vaccination. A bit like global warming/climate change.

        I researched about vaccination over 20 years ago, when I first had children. So that I could make an informed decision. Most people don’t want to make an informed decision. They want to be told what to do.

        • I had German measles once too otherwise known as Rubella. I was with my parents on holiday in Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast in Italy at the time. In those days measles used to spread like wildfire through the schools. Boy did it itch.

  4. They had every opportunity to dump millions of tonnes of overburden on the island, to raise its height above sea level. Of course, that likely would have killed off the little rats, but … “We have to do something!

  5. LA could use a few more, heard they wanted new carpet in another government building besides the City Hall and there is a treatment for typhus, no big deal.

    • Is there any way to make the roof rats in my neighborhood go extinct? Apart from being fabulous disease vectors … I don’t see their value to the ecosystem.

  6. They had every opportunity to dump millions of tonnes of overburden on the island to raise its height above sea level. Of course, that likely would have killed off the little rats, but … “We have to do something!

    • director for the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara, said preparation for the plan was limited, and it was never reviewed at its completion in 2013.
      “And we failed.”

      So good they are taking responsibility for the demise.
      And NO, you cannot watch over our children. Pretty bad when you cannot keep a rat alive.

  7. Identified sometime around 1924, at least a relative of many species of melomys.
    In 1995 declared to be different than the other species. Similar to many including a possible
    Papua New Guinea population.

    Only about 100 in 2008 and recovery plan was to :
    consult with stakeholders,
    encouraging support of the rat amongst the community!

    Wow, a deeply thought out plan. It was nothing more than an academic interest to fund some field research now and again. But they still can
    as someone will get funding to check out the Cay again, and then camp in PNG for a while
    to search for another population and declare a victory for non-extinction based on academic research.

    • if theyre as tough as normal rats then theyll have floated and landed elsewhere
      now what WILL be interesting is seeing what other species like birds etc suddenly have a rise in young due to NOT being harrassed by rats.
      we spend mega dollars baiting rats on islands all over the place to enable other species to survive.

  8. So prior to nowadays, in some sort of pristine Rat-i-cene epoch defined by the lack of SUVs and jet aircraft, this tiny handful of disgusting disease vectors living on a tiny sand bar in Australia would have, like, done what, exactly? Lived to reproduce somewhere else?

    If those buggers showed up in my yard, I’d set out the same rat traps I used to kill the disgusting palm rats that live here at my home in Florida.

    • Agreed, they could come and trap some of the rats near me, that live alongside the (very artificial) brackish water canal in Fort Lauderdale that used to be a tidal swamp, before big dredging machines turned the swamp into “real estate.”

      But they don’t get the rats for for free. There is a small price to pay, first. They have to also take the carcass of the dead one which crawled under the washing machine to die in the apartment building’s laundry room. I suspect someone first noticed it when they put in an unbalanced load that caused the machine to walk across the floor a short distance during the spin cycle, and thereby exposing the smelly mess.

      Aw, hell, the Aussie do-gooders won’t come in time, and my kindly but squeamish neighbor lady is in such distress over the mess, that as a modern chivalrous gentleman, I’ll clean up the carcass, the decomposing body of which has sort of stuck to the floor tiles, in order to save her any further aggravation. Then some bleach and scouring powder, alternately, on the floor, some scrubbing with a long handled scrub mop to get the little bastard’s carbon pollution off the tiles, shove the washing machine back into place, and walah! like it never happened. Except for my nightmares…

  9. There’s been some call outs of “climate change” caused problems and they seem to be increasing. Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Wolf aren’t claiming the followers that they use to. When predictions fail so do the believers. And it will get worse for them as time goes on. Guaranteed.

  10. Did anyone check to see if a passing ship lost a pallet or two of soy beans that drifted onto that cay?

    It wouldn’t take long for a few generations of soy boy rats to appear and… no more baby rats.

  11. I will start an adopt-a-rat program, so environmentalist idiots can help make sure that no other rat species suffers the same fate. $100 per rat. I accept paypal or venmo.

  12. Unlike the teams of enthusiasts out looking for the poor old Tasmanian Tiger, I do not think that there will be many out looking for the last surviving Bramble Cay melomy. The Worldwide expenditure on rat poison was $1,000,000,000 US. This suggests that we are not on the rat’s side.

    • The rats should have been medivacced from the island and transferred to Christmas Island for urgent medical supervision and care. I’m sure the Greens and Turnbullites would have been in favor.

      • If the Greens and the Turnbullites were going to fund it’s relocation, it would take years of planning (already done), cost a billion dollars, the funds would have been misplaced, the rescue ship would have gotten beached, and Christmas Island would have rioted because we were sending them more rats.

  13. The tantrums thrown by the PC brigade over such storms in a teacup (or is that a sewing thimble) remind me of the tantrums thrown by a spoiled child. Interestingly, both behave like little tyrants.

  14. This is how the “major extinction” meme gets its oxygen. But imagine: somewhere in the Jurassic world there was a tiny low island with some unique species on it, and it went extinct. Most likely we would never ever find any fossils of the species at all, let alone know that it went extinct. But here today, we scour the planet for species and we know a very large percentage of them (compared to the Jurassic). Unless they can rule out observer bias, it seems that all modern “extinction event” claims are unscientific.

    • Even the megafaunal extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene don’t count as a mass event.

      For that you need whole families, orders and classes to go extinct, worldwide.

  15. The hypocrisy and hand wringing is bizarre. Did we not spend $25mill to eradicate foxes cats and rats from Macquarie Island and completed in 2014. Two legs eradication “good”, natural eradication “bad”!

  16. It’s worth having a look at the picture of that postage stamp of an island included at the link below.

    By the time the average rat graduates from kindergarten it would have been taught not to try to raise its kits in a place like that. But at some point a pregnant Eve rat crawled ashore there and doomed its progeny to a fate that is plainly communicated in that ‘Recovery Plan’:

    “As a small population restricted to one small isolated sand cay it is particularly vulnerable to an extinction event like a major cyclone.”

    ‘A major cyclone’ is weather, not climate change. So I call 100% BS on the story being peddled that extinction was caused by human-induced climate change.

  17. “The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” and needed time to evolve amphibious.

    Bled glaffa.

  18. In other news environmentalists are pleased to announce the removal of an introduced and invasive species of rodent from a small island off the coast of Australia.

    The event is positive news for the colonies of seabirds and nesting turtles who already face risks that are worse than we thought from both Climate Change(tm) and Donald Trump.

    • Yeah, it was usually the rats which caused extinction of other species, especially ground-nesting birds. Karma!

  19. Also this news article is deliberately deceptive (duh!?)

    Have a look to the government release linked and using the powers of Ctrl F see if you can find the word ‘CLIMATE’ anywhere in the statement. (Spoiler, you wont).

    So the current Australian government has NOT claimed this introduced species was made extinct from Climate Change(tm), just that it is now extinct (and in real terms probably has been for years).

    The Climate Change claim has been made by this Mr Beshara from the Wilderness Society. Concerned people? Yeah, probably. Leading authority on anything? Doubtful. Qualified to speak for the Australian Government? NO.

    This is pure headline mush, but then again it comes from the Nine Papers (ex Fairfax), aka FewFacts, so tis to be expected.

    • Roger ==> Thanks for inking to my 2016 essay: “From the Scientific Urban Legend Department: “The little Bramble Cay melomys is likely the first mammal claimed by man-made climate change” .

      The “news” is that the Australian government has declared the BCM (bramble cay melomys) extinct — which sets off a knee jerk reaction from activists. My earlier essay includes my conclusion that the BCM has probably been extinct for 10-15 years and was allowed to go extinct through the failure to act in a timely fashion when the population dropped below 100 individuals. The immediate cause probably being use of the cay as a rookery for thousands of sea birds and hundreds of sea turtles. That activity led to the destruction of the vegetation that the BCM depended on for food. The little sandbar was also inundated several times.

      In truth, the BCM was just a terribly inbred population of Melomys that are common in that part of the world — transported to Bramble Cay by turtle eggs hunters (stowaways in their boats) at some time in the last century.

  20. On the mainland, rats are trapped poisioned and exterminated in a variety of ways. Throughout history they are regarded as a major pest, including association with the black plagues. Humans have spend enormous amounts of money trying to rid the world of these vermon.

    Finally, we have a solution 🙂

    • My guess is most eco-types wouldn’t like polar bears either if they saw one up close. It’s amazing how presentation affects perception.

      Several years ago, there was an artist (somewhere in New York, maybe?) – who took a mouse – a LAB mouse, no less – and was going to smash it with a hammer… as ‘art’.
      He publicized his intent and literally had crowds of people rising to the defense of the mouse – with one gentleman telling the artist HE was the one who should have his head smashed with a hammer for ‘picking on a lil’ mouse’.

      As I recall, the guy gave the mouse a stay of execution – no doubt returning the mouse to the lab, for whatever waited for it there.

  21. There are rats all over the place in Chicago. Some of them get elected to office, and get seats on the city council. Just sayin’ – they would not be missed if a 50 foot sieche overwhelmed the lakefront. Almost did a few years ago.

  22. I think the last time an article about the Bramble Cay Melomy was posted here on WUWT, it was concluded that an Aid to Navigation (aka light beakon) was the culprit. It attracted birds, which then slowly destroyed the vegetation.

    • As per Wiki Bramble Cay entry:

      After several shipwrecks, the first lighthouse, a 42 feet (13 m) pyramidal steel tower, was finally erected in 1924. It was demolished in 1954 and replaced by the present lighthouse, a 17 metres (56 ft) stainless steel tower, which was equipped with solar power on 6 January 1987. There are maintenance visits by vessels of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority every three to six months.

    • Yeah, Joel, a bunch of them went extinct: Mammoths, mastodons, woolly rhinos for starters. Giant sloths, shortfaced cave bears, sabre-toothed tigers, glyptodonts, Camelops hesternus, and those are only a few.

      There’s also the dire wolf, Irish deer (much larger than today’s species) — gee whiz, a LOT of megafauna went extinct.

      • Sara,

        I’m pretty sure that Joel knew that.

        Not to mention the Australian megafauna as well. But, thanks, anyway.

        • Heh. Yeah – I need that sarcasm font – although Sara might have just been playing along.

          Although, to be fair, you can’t assume people know these things anymore. Someone posted a picture of the ‘sick Triceratops’ animatronic model online, with Spielberg posing in front of it with a rifle as if he’d shot it.

          You would be amazed at how many outraged comments were posted below that someone would shoot ‘such a magnificent animal’.

          • Sorry, I misunderstood you intent, Joel, but it was a nice exercise for me, anyway. I worked as a volunteer at the Field Museum in Chicago, helping a paleontologist sort fossils and occasionally got to see the critters that are not normally in view of the public. I was the most impressed by the dire wolf and the sabretoothed cat. The dire wolf looked like a half-grown version, and the cat had arthritis in its spine.

          • ‘I worked as a volunteer at the Field Museum in Chicago, helping a paleontologist sort fossils and occasionally got to see the critters that are not normally in view of the public.’

            Very cool!

          • “occasionally got to see the critters that are not normally in view of the public.’”

            So…unicorns, right?

            I KNEW it!!!!

  23. All this excitement over the demise of a few rats who happened to be temporarily residing on a tiny coral cay….. Meanwhile, over at the alarmist lefty Australian Broadcasting Commission they appear to have uncovered a somewhat different rodent problem.

    PS. If the so called “researchers” had gone looking for the rodent in its natural jungle habitat in the Fly River area, from whence it came, they would more than likely have located plenty of the little vermin….But it’s not so much fun in the jungles of PNG and they would rather loll about in the sunshine and sand pretending to be planet savers.

  24. They are not even likely to be extinct, they almost certainly live on the mainland to the north, and people brought dogs to the islands where they were exposed and threatened.

    I dug up and read the original research papers, and of course found that the authors downplayed or failed to mention that they originally came from the mainland to the north, where no surveys were done.

  25. This was almost certainly not a valid endemic species. Bramble Cay is only 50 km from the Trans-Fly coast and the intervening waters are very shallow. It was connected to the mainland less than 10,000 years ago. Mammal species don’t evolve that fast. There is no known case of a true endemic mammal on any “continental” island anywhere in the World.

    The cases sometimes cited from e. g. Australia are actually continental animals that were exterminated on the mainland by introduced predators but where island populations have survived.

    The Bramble Cay Melomys is almost certainly still extant in New Guinea, though it may well not have been found yet. On average more than one new mammal species is still found every year in New Guinea. Which is not surprising given the extremely difficult terrain, dense vegetation, trying climate, almost complete absence of roads and sometimes less-than-friendly inhabitants.

      • Or Melomys burtoni, which is perhaps more likely since it occurs on both sides of the Torres strait. Populations would almost inevitably have been isolated on most cays and islands at the end of the ice-age, but of course most would have gone extinct long ago.

        • That does seem more likely.

          Given how shallow the shelf is between Oz and New Guinea, the lowest cays must be very recent.

    • PS

      Missed a word

      It should be:

      “There is no known case of a true endemic mammal on any low “continental” island anywhere in the World.”

      Islands large enough to have a mountain chain of their own (like Honshu, Borneo, New Guinea) may have endemic montane species since these will mostly remain isolated during glaciations. This, however does not apply to six feet high cays.

    • From 1998:

      “Bramble Cay melomys(Melomys rubicola)

      “The only known home of this melomys measures just 340m by 150m — a sand cay at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef, 50km from New Guinea. Bramble Cay is home for nesting colonies of seabirds, turtles and the only mammal endemic to a coral cay on the GBR. Several hundred melomys forage for food in the dense vegetation but do not seem to eat bird or turtle eggs or young.

      “This animal is closely related to the Cape York melomys but has a much rougher tail (the scales stand out) and different blood proteins. It seems to be a unique species but sand cays are quite recent and Bramble Cay cannot have existed for longer than a few thousand years. Either this melomys is a very rapidly evolving species or it has relatives — somewhere. Researchers are currently investigating melomys species in New Guinea where it is thought genetic studies may discover another population.

      “Otherwise, as Bramble Cay is being gradually eroded away, this unique animal is doomed to extinction.”

      The rats mentioned here must have been non-inidgenous ships’ rats:

      When the ship HMS Bramble landed
      on the cay named after it, in 1845, it
      was recorded that, “on capsizing (over
      60 empty turtle shells which had been
      left at the end of the cay) numbers of
      large rats made their escape from
      beneath them, and our people, who
      (being Sunday) had an afternoon’s
      leave on shore to collect eggs for their
      messes, amused themselves with
      shooting them with the bows and
      arrows they had obtained from the
      natives of Erub!”

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