Snail dies in captivity in New Zealand

  • 14/10/2006

Snail dies in captivity in New Zealand One of the giant snails controversially translocated to New Zealand's West Coast has died. The creature was one of the 367 rare Powelliphanta augustus snails, which were moved from their natural habitat in Westport by the state-owned Solid Energy. The power company coveted the Stockton open-cast coalmines in Westport. The snail died after it was kept in a fridge at the department of conservation's office at Hokitika, local media reports say. "Under any other circumstances any agency responsible for killing wildlife should be fined up to us $200,000, but Solid Energy has escaped censure,' said Green party leader Metiria Turei. Protesters and activists of the Save Happy Valley campaign have taken the case to New Zealand's Environment Court.

While the government is still searching for a new home to relocate the giant snails, West Coast conservator, Mike Slater, has clarified that the relocation move was to protect the area's snail population, and subsequently release them back into the wild. In April 2006, the federal government had approved the relocation of snails, despite concerns from several quarters that the move could lead to their extinction.