Where’s the apocalypse: With all the forecasts of doom, is this it?
Global Lament is rising for the small brown rat (Melomys rubicola) lost off a desert island no one heard of til morning tea today. This is a rat that was only recognised as a distinct species in 1995, though even then, it was debated, and the rat’s existence was hanging by a thread. The island is a 5 hectare sand spit with a bit of low scrub and an old rusty scaffold once called a lighthouse. So it’s all of 0.05 square kilometers: it is so small there is no fresh water on the island, just the odd puddle after it rains. Over the space of a decade or so the island shrank 40% and the vegetation was wiped out by 97% (details below). Life on shifting sands in the Torres Strait is all pathetically desperate. It’s 200km off Queensland but only 50km from Papua New Guinea and the highest point (if you could call it that) is 3m about the high tide mark. In other words, any decent wave could have washed the last one off. It’s sad, but it’s not “climate change”.
February 20, 2019 at 12:50PM