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Thousands of Endangered Hawaiian Snails in Captivity Relocated to New Home on Oahu

State Department of Land and Natural Resource officials have pulled off a hug relocation of endangered Hawaiian snails in what their caretakers are calling “The Great Snail Bail.”

Some 8,000 snails were moved from Kailua to their new home in the Pearl City area Thursday morning.

Snail caretakers, who drove 10 different vehicles to pull off the move, believe it could be a record for the number of protected species moved from one place to another at one time.

“We had the last individuals in the world of some of these species, all in boxes, traveling over the H-3. These snails may be small, but they are no less important than large charismatic endangered species like monk seals. Imagine moving 8,000 monk seals,” said Dr. David Sischo, who has run the state’s Snail Extinction Prevention Program for several years.

Over the last seven years, Sischo and his team have cared for some 8,000 snails, representing 38 critically imperiled species, from a small trailer.

“While this was likely the largest and fastest snail migration ever, in all seriousness these are precious public trust resources. They are jewels of the Hawaiian forest and serve like canaries in the coal mine in forewarning us of the health of native forests. A more apt phrase would be they serve as the snails in the forest,” Sischo added.

The DLNR said the team realized having the rare species all in vehicles at once created real vulnerabilities, however necessary precautions were taken to ensure safe and efficient transport of the snails. DOCARE officers tagged along in case there were any problems.

Now at the Pearl City lab, the 170 boxes worth of rare snails will adjust to their new surroundings.

The team behind the move says they are considering submitting their feat to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Source : Hawaii News Now