Around the world is an illustrated series highlighting the impact of climate change on animals and plants around the world.
Bramble Cay melomys
In 2016, National Geographic reported that this little creature, the Bramble Cay melomys was possibly the world’s first mammal ‘casualty’ of climate change.
The melomys existed only on Bramble Cay, a tiny, low lying island off the coast of the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, due to rising sea levels, the area that sits above high tide has shrunk from 9.2 acres to just 6.2 acres and the little rodents have lost a huge proportion of their habitat. None has been seen since 2014, and sadly they are now likely to be extinct.
Brown pelicans are one of the USA’s most iconic birds, but they have had a troubled history. First they were hunted for their plumage, then later ravaged by chemical use; by the 1970s they were declared endangered. After careful conservation work they were officially delisted in 2009 and were touted as a huge success story.
However, fast forward 8 years and they are once more under threat, this time because their food source, the humble sardine, has been so overfished. The birds, in their search for food, then venture further north only to hit upon lethal cold weather. Theirs is a story of starvation, of freezing to death, of chicks abandoned — due primarily to human interference.
Helen ‘Nell’ Hugh-Jones is an illustrator based in London. She loves the clarity of working in black ink which she then works over either in watercolour or digitally (as here). Helen is currently illustrating children’s books, designing wedding stationery, putting together interior design brochures and selling Christmas cards!