Hope for almost extinxt snailspecies
Islands often struggle to protect animals if non-native species manage to reach the islands. That is why the LifeBoat Project was established in Bermuda. It is important to protect habitats but also to have a back-up population to release back into the wild. And that is the aim of this project. One of the many animal species that have been sent to zoos in England and the US is the Bermuda land snail Poecilozonites circumfirmatus. This species only occurs in Bermuda. The Poecilozonites family consisted of 4 species, but 3 of them are completely extinct. These species used to be so abundant that they were collected for the lime of their houses to be used on the fields. Only Poecilozonites circumfirmatus was still found in limited numbers on the island, but according to a recent study from early 2012, this species is also extinct in the wild. Causes include the introduction of a carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea and threats from Argentine ants.
In February 2004, 56 snails were transferred from the Zoological Society of London. The breeding succeeded quite quickly and after a year and a half there were already 70 adults and 157 young snails. In the meantime, the population has grown further and the first plans are being made to re-release these animals in the wild and to rebuild a population on Bermuda.