Thursday, April 13, 2006

Progress at a snail's pace

Giant snails make way for mine
By Paul Chapman in Wellington
(Filed: 13/04/2006)

Some of the world's oldest and rarest snails are to be plucked from their only known habitat in New Zealand to make way for an open-cast coalmine.
Conservationists believe the species - Powelliphanta augustus - could become extinct when the 250-strong population is removed from Mount Augustus, in South Island.
The snails, which are as big as a fist, are a biological oddity. They are carnivorous and can pounce on slugs and suck up worms in the way people eat spaghetti.
However, Chris Carter, the conservation minister, yesterday approved their removal so state-owned mining company Solid Energy can begin excavations. The creatures - labelled "the sumo wrestlers of the snail world" - will now be relocated to a suitable area nearby.
Kevin Hackwell, of the Royal Forest and Bird Conservation Society, accused Mr Carter of "approving the first state-sponsored species extinction in New Zealand".
He predicted that the snails could be extinct within 12 months.

Daily Telegraph


Blogger hale said...

This is a bit of a surprise. Most New Zealanders I know tend to be conservationists and want to protect their homeland. I have seen the coal mine scars in Wales and in Appalachia. They are almost un-correctable, and will be there for generations.

I enjoyed reading your blog - you seen to pick the type of odd stories I find most interesting. Keep it up!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Any suggestions for improvement will be appreciated.


9:42 AM  
Blogger ManNMotion said...

Wow, those sound like some tough snails!

5:45 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

It shouldn't be a surprise. In a land of conservationist we often don't see the most powerful pollution of all, the one that corrupts whatever it touches. Money

4:59 PM  
Blogger ByronB said...

Yup, Mannmotion, those snails sound the real deal!

And you're right, sadly, Bob - money drives everything these days. Hopefully, though, the relocation will work and the snails will survive. I was contemplating offering to foster a couple of them here in the UK, where our garden is plagued with slugs - unfortunately, they also seem to have an appetite for worms, which are beneficial to the earth.

Hale, I was close to giving up reading newspapers altogether when I noticed a small item about some silly piece of human behaviour which made me realise that the average man-on-the-Clapham-omnibus is still going about his everday life, sticking parking tickets on doctors-on-call cars and the like, despite half the world wanting to blow up the other half. Now I skip the headlines and search for the other more interesting bits that are tucked away as a counterbalance. Your blog is great - I'm learning more about Morocco in bite-sized lumps than I would from any official handbook! Cheers!

11:10 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Some Conservation Minister.

8:31 AM  

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