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Australia Says Rodent On Bramble Cay Is Extinct Because Of Climate Change

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This morning, we are remembering the Bramble Cay melomys. This is a tiny island rodent that the Australian government has formally acknowledged as extinct. This extinction is being called the first known demise of a mammal due to climate change.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Tim Beshara is the federal policy director of the Wilderness Society Australia. He says the little rodent resembled an ordinary rat, but...

TIM BESHARA: If you looked very closely, its tail would have what appear to be scales on it.

GREENE: This animal lived on a low-lying island of 12 acres, and it was left vulnerable to rising sea levels from climate change. Melissa Price, Australia's environment minister, said the species had not been seen since 2009.

MARTIN: Beshara says the extinction shows that Australia's government didn't take climate change seriously enough.

BESHARA: There's a lot of sadness in terms of why didn't we do something?

GREENE: He said Australia could learn something from the United States, a country that he argues does a better job trying to protect endangered species. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.