Snail species believed to be extinct brought back to life through a breeding programme

Snail species believed to be extinct brought back to life through a breeding programme

An endangered species of snail from greater Bermuda land was brought back to life and released into the wild. A unique breeding programme was adopted with the help from British zoo to save the snails from the brink of extinction.

The snail species were found in Hamilton. According to experts, the snails which belong to Lazarus species were long believed to be extinct. But an empty shell was discovered in 2014 insinuating on the species existence.

“It turned out that, yes, this was, in fact, the greater Bermuda land snail, a species that we thought had gone extinct 40 years earlier,” Mark Outerbridge, a wildlife ecologist for the Bermuda government said in a statement about the snail species.

The experts found that the snails were basically living in discarded plastic bags, since the bags retained moisture. Moreover, water dripping from air conditioning units had made a conducive environment for the species. Since snails are vulnerable to dry areas, they were found in a wet alley in Hamilton which was surrounded by four-story buildings.

“And when we started picking up these plastic bags and unfolding them – literally they contained hundreds of juveniles and hatchling-sized snails,” reports Outerbridge.

Few of these hatchlings were held in captivity for breeding. The offspring from these hatchlings were then taken to Chester Zoo and the Zoological Society of London. Scientists could then work methodically on these offspring to create colonies. Good soil and snail food which includes lettuce and sweet potato was the reason for successful breeding.

According to reports, more than 4000 snails were bred at the zoo while others were released and returned back to their homeland.

“At the last count we’ve got somewhere around 13,000 snails – we’ve probably got more than that, they’ve had a lot of babies since then,” commented Amber Flewitt, of Chester Zoo.