Gone but not forgotten

Chris Joy, Pam Baragwanath, Rob Dunlop and Peter Hannaford. Picture: JED LANYON

By Jed Lanyon

A small group of Yarra Valley residents came together to commemorate the one year anniversary of the official extinction of the Bramble Cay Melomys on Wednesday 19 February.

The residents took part in a short march in Healesville accompanied by a minute’s silence in their push to see the government establish a national memorial and museum to extinct and endangered wildlife species in Australia.

The Bramble Cay Melomys was a small brown rodent that lived on Bramble Cay Island near Papua New Guinea. The animal is believed to be the first to suffer extinction following the effects of climate change as its lowly sand island home was inundated by ocean water.

March organiser Pam Baragwanath said that there were three similar demonstrations taking place across Victoria and that she hopes it will be an annual tradition.

“We want a memorial to record the names of these animals, because they’re becoming extinct on our watch. We are responsible for their wellbeing and survival,” she said.

“We want a memorial so that we’re aware that it doesn’t keep on happening.”

The group created a small wooden coffin to honour the Bramble Cay Melomys, but put a knitted Leadbeater’s possum inside as they fear they will soon be mourning the loss of Victoria’s state animal emblem.

“Again, another unique, endemic animal to this country, it’s nowhere else in the world and it’s nowhere else in this country. It’s easy to foresee that they might end up in that coffin as well.”

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