Most species of Partula snails became extinct in their native French Polynesia due to predation by the much larger carnivorous rosy wolf snail, introduced by humans to their habitat in the 1970s.
Thanks to the RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and its partners, a number of the species were rescued from complete extinction, and will now be restored to native habitat in their ancestral home.
Five species of Partula snail bred in Edinburgh, Scotland have been packed in to containers and sent “home”. Further reintroductions are planned for later this year and next.
The critically endangered 1cm-long tree snail Partula affinis – once thought to be extinct altogether – will return to its native Tahiti.
Other species Partula mooreana, Partula suturalis vexillum, Partula tohiveana, and Partula taeniata simulans – which are all extinct in the wild – will be restored to their native island of Mooreana.
Gareth Bennett, Senior Presenter at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “It is extremely exciting to be able to send some of our Partula snails, which we have been breeding for years, to be reintroduced directly back into their native habitat.”
Photo of Partula_suturalis by Simon J. Tonge via Wikipedia.