Conservation staff 'upset' mishap killed rare snails

gregster's picture
Submitted by gregster on Thu, 2011-11-10 02:41

At least it was painless.

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12:41 PM Thursday Nov 10, 2011

Pictured: Rare snail at Happy Valley.

About 800 rare giant snails have been frozen to death after a technical glitch in a Department of Conservation cool room in Hokitika.

The snails were some of 6000 taken from the Stockton Plateau several years ago to make way for coal mining.

About 4000 snails have already been relocated to new habitats.

DOC public awareness officer Jose Watson said a temperature probe in one cool room, where the snails were being kept, failed at Labour Weekend.

The probe sent the incorrect temperature to the cooler unit, and the cooler unit "went into overdrive'', she said.

"The first thing that was noticed was that the unit was going over-time.''

Ms Watson said DOC staff were unsure how long the snails had been exposed to the freezing temperatures - which they can withstand for short periods in the wild - in the cool room.

DOC had not announced the snail deaths sooner because it had had to assess how many had died.

"When we first looked we couldn't tell. We had to wait a couple of weeks before we could start assessing what was going on.''

Only a few snails in the cool room had survived, she said.

However, the relocation programme would not be too adversely affected because snail numbers would recover in a few years.

The snail captive programme costs about $125,000 a year, paid by state-owned coal producer Solid Energy.

Sadly for the snails, it is not the first time some of their number have died while in storage.

In 2006 one snail died while being kept in an ice-cream container in a fridge.

The death fuelled the long-running and bitter battle over relocation of the giant rare powelliphanta augustus snails to allow Solid Energy to access $400 million worth of high-quality coal at its West Coast Stockton mine near Westport.

DOC's West Coast conservancy technical support manager John Lyall said the snail deaths were very upsetting as staff were committed to their care.

Before the loss they had been proud to be celebrating a "great captive breeding result''.

The faulty temperature probe had been repaired and a new alert system would reduce the chance of recurrence. However, there was no guarantee other probes would not fail, Mr Lyall said.

"Fortunately we've already managed to relocate more than 60 per cent of the original population into new habitats and we still have more than 800 unaffected snails in the other cool rooms and environmental chambers.

"The remaining snails are breeding well, producing good numbers of eggs, and we expect the captive population to recover the loss within a few years.''

By Westport News and Greymouth Star


You're as cold as ice

Richard Goode's picture

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

If it so, then you simply rely on non-substantiable faith. Good for you.

Is that a compliment?!

Well they were in an ice

michael fasher's picture

Well they were in an ice cream container, where else but the freezer do you put an icecream container. Ghost

Oliva - KASS Quote

Sandi's picture

"50K so that Happy Feet could become a Happy Meal."

I'm lovin' it !!

What a great poster

Sandi's picture

I'd love to slap 'em on a few fences.

A Vote For Death

gregster's picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

I'm an agnostic. There's no pretence.

"Christian agnosticism means being a Christian despite uncertainty about whether Christian teachings are true... The Christian agnostic acknowledges that it is not possible to know for certain if God exists."

If it so, then you simply rely on non-substantiable faith. Good for you.

I like snails

Leonid's picture

Snails make a good starter in the restaurant. I like them with red wine and preferable fresh, but in these sad circumstances I'd settle on frozen. The good news are that ""The remaining snails are breeding well"-meaning that supply of the fresh snails would be soon restored. Le chaim!

Greg

Richard Goode's picture

You're the kind of guy who pretends to know nothing.

I'm an agnostic. There's no pretence.

Richard

gregster's picture

You're the kind of guy who pretends to know nothing.

Maybe it can be sorted over a couple of jugs.

Greg

Richard Goode's picture

You are against nature.

You follow the son of the goblin.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Goode

gregster's picture

You are against nature.

You follow the son of the goblin.

"

gregster's picture

"

Nature, red in tooth and claw

Richard Goode's picture

I'm against it.

Marcus

Olivia's picture

When Glenn informed me of the Happy Feet "incident" - I just howled with laughter on and off for hours. His take was "that it had 50k of tax payer dollars spent on it just to put it back in the food chain. 50K so that Happy Feet could become a Happy Meal." (This in a deep recession!)

All the little NZ kids doing projects on the bird (tediously covered by the 6pm news everynight of course) were inconsolable. Smiling Smile

Wasn't the whole Happy Feet...

Marcus's picture

...story just as stupid?

So many fawning dorks gawping at a Penguin. Nasty man has harmed this penguin, they complain.

As soon as it is released into the wild, to a press orgy, a killer whale comes to the surface and devours it.

The greens are trying to forget that one already.

Separating 'gay' penguins wrong - activists

Richard Goode's picture

3 News

They’re calling it “Brokeback Iceberg”: two gay penguins pairing in a Toronto Zoo.

But zookeepers aren’t happy to leave the couple together.

Pedro and Buddy are endangered African penguins. They are both male and in love - with each other.

“They’ve bonded. They seem to get along quite well, there’s no question about that,” a spokesman said.

But zoo officials plan to separate the two, hoping they will mate with females as part of a breeding programme.

“We have the two males together but only females can lay eggs,” the spokesman says.

But not everyone is laughing; many zoo visitors think separating the pair is wrong.

Canadian gay rights activists agree – noting other animals have same-sex relationships too.

The debate is raging far beyond Canada; Taiwan’s Next Media Animation has waded in with their famous animal animations, complete with Brokeback Mountain dialogue.

American talkshows including Jimmy Kimmel Live have also weighed in.

The zoo has received hundreds of calls about the pair and zookeepers are quick to point out that Buddy has had a female partner in the past.

As for Pedro, he’s never had a mate – until now.

My favourite quote is "The

Stephen Berry's picture

My favourite quote is

"The remaining snails are breeding well, producing good numbers of eggs, and we expect the captive population to recover the loss within a few years.''

Nice to see the Government department charged with rescuing species from extinction only set their progress back a few years.

I loved the quote from one of

Mark Hubbard's picture

I loved the quote from one of the blokes who'd 'rescued' the snails in the first place:

'It's not the first time snails have died in this facility'

Smiling

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