Tuesday, September 22, 2009

snails are worth saving

Should we worry about snails?

Yes i say because they are part of the ecosystem and we just don't know how everything fits together. Losing one species can create a cascade effect where the fingers of instability can go for a long way thus creating whole series of extinctions.

"The population of rare native land snails moved at great expense from a West Coast mountain to make way for coal mining are struggling to survive in their new homes, the Department of Conservation has revealed.

DOC says the limited data it has on the snails' performance since they were plucked from Mt Augustus in 2006 and shifted to nearby hillsides suggests they may die out in the wild. "

So humans don't know best and the reason these snails were moved?

"The news has reinforced environmentalists' arguments that the snails have been endangered for the sake of coalmining.

The Forest and Bird Society's Nelson-based regional field officer, Debs Martin, said the Mt Augustus snails had fallen "victim to economic desire".

"The thing we're starting to see now is the worst coming out, and it could well be that that particular species of snail becomes functionally extinct in the wild," Ms Martin said.

DOC had been monitoring the snails' performance in the wild by tracking 200 of them fitted with tiny transponders. From what was known about those snails, the various populations had estimated survival rates of 55 to 79 per cent, which suggested they would not survive in the long term. Survival rates had slid since reports last year showed the best group was maintaining 90 per cent of its population.

Solid Energy spokesman Bryn Somerville said there were still many unknowns about the snails and while it appeared some of the relocated populations "aren't going to make it", research to keep the species alive in the wild was ongoing and the captive population remained as "insurance". "

One unknown that is known Bryn is that if you dig up the ground and move the snails they don't survive.

"Asked if DOC would recommend a similar exercise to shift a snail population if a case arose again, Ms Weston said: "We prefer to maintain powelliphanta populations within their existing ecosystems "

Why do it the first time, under a labour government? Money and greed. We have to make sure there is no second or third time.

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