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Rodent extinct from human-caused climate change

Bramble Cay melomys
A Bramble Cay melomys photographed in 2002 (Courtesy of the Queensland Department of Environment and Science)

The Great Barrier Reef's only endemic mammal may be the first mammalian extinction from human-caused climate change.

In February, the Australian government declared the Bramble Cay melomys extinct, confirming a 2016 finding by Queensland's state government. The rodent was exclusive to Bramble Cay, a small island of Queensland that is close to Papua New Guinea.

In a 2016 report, Queensland's government indicated surveys failed to find a single melomys in 2014, and fishermen said they last saw the rodents in 2009.

From 1998-2014, wind and waves had eroded the island's area above high tide from 10 acres to 6, the report states. The island lost 97 percent of the plants that gave the melomys food and shelter, and seabirds guarded some of what remained.

"Available information about sea-level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events producing extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges in the Torres Strait region over this period point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys," the report states.

Officials with Australia's government also listed the spectacled flying fox as endangered, as its population halved in the past decade and was heavily impacted by a recent heat-stress event in north Queensland.

ASPCA honors 18, including a veterinarian

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals honored 18 people, including a veterinarian, for aiding abused animals in New York City.

Dr. Inbal Lavotshkin, medical director for Veterinary Emergency Referral Group Hospital South in Brooklyn, was honored in December along with 14 members of the New York Police Department, a Bronx County district attorney, and two assistant U.S. attorneys. Dr. Lavotshkin is one of 16 who received ASPCA annual appreciation awards, and two NYPD honorees received five-year awards.

The award recipients are participants in an ASPCA-NYPD partnership that has aided more than 3,000 animals since January 2014. Those honored have helped prevent, investigate, and prosecute animal cruelty and neglect and give victims medical care.

The ASPCA praised Dr. Lavotshkin for giving needed medical updates, working to house large groups of animals on short notice, and identifying and reporting animal cruelty on her own.

Pharmacology research grants awarded

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and the Veterinary Pharmacology Research Foundation have awarded pharmacology research grants to three veterinary researchers.

Dr. John Thomason, associate professor of small animal internal medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine, is a recipient of the Dr. Brian Riviere Memorial Veterinary Pharmacokinetic Research Grant of nearly $15,000. Dr. Thomason is conducting research on population pharmacokinetics of subcutaneous enoxaparin in hypercoagulable dogs.

An additional recipient of the Dr. Brian Riviere Memorial Veterinary Grant is Dr. Jonathan Foster, an internist at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C., who was awarded nearly $12,000. Dr. Foster's research focuses on population pharmacokinetic analysis of enrofloxacin and its active metabolite ciprofloxacin following intravenous injection in cats with reduced kidney function.

Dr. Lauren Trepanier, professor and assistant dean of clinical and translational research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, received the Veterinary Pharmacology Research Grant of nearly $12,000. Dr. Trepanier's research aims to discover why individual dogs respond differently to the drugs azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, lomustine, amiodarone, and chlorambucil.

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