06/22/23 – RARE HAWAIIAN LAND SNAILS REACH TOP SPEED OF 50 MILES PER HOURPosted on Jun 22, 2023 in DOCARE, Forestry & Wildlife, Main, News Releases, slider
|JOSH GREEN, M.D.
For Immediate Release: June 22, 2023
RARE HAWAIIAN LAND SNAILS REACH TOP SPEED OF 50 MILES PER HOUR
8,000 Snails Make the Trip to a New Home
To view video please click on photo or view at this link: https://vimeo.com/838837071
(HONOLULU) – Granted, they had assistance from the drivers of 10 vehicles, who moved thousands of rare, threatened, and endangered Hawaiian snails from their home in Kailua to new digs in the Pearl City area, this morning. Their caretakers have dubbed the transfer, “The Great Snail Bail,” and believe it could well be a record for the number of protected species moved from one place to another at one time.
Dr. David Sischo runs the state’s Snail Extinction Prevention Program and for the past seven years he and his team have cared for 8,000 snails, representing 38 critically imperiled species, from a small trailer.
Supervising today’s transfer, Sischo observed, “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.”
During this Year of the Kāhuli, as proclaimed by Governor Josh Green, M.D., native Hawaiian land snails are getting some of the attention they deserve, and it helps that the Great Snail Bail coincides with other events and programs throughout 2023 to bring attention to their plight.
“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 said.
The team conducting the operation realized that having most of the remaining, extremely rare snail species all in vehicles at the same time created some real vulnerabilities. They took every possible precaution to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of the snails, including having back-up vehicles and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) tagging along in case of any problems.
At the Pearl City lab, the team formed a second human chain to move all 170 boxes of snails into their new home. “The new lab doubles our capacity for rearing snails,” Sischo said. For tonight, the temperature in the lab has been lowered to duplicate the environmental chambers that simulate conditions found in the mountainous areas of five islands where the snails are/were found in the wild. Two chambers are already in the lab, with eight more to be moved on Friday.
Sischo and the snail team are relieved the Snail Bail went off without a hitch and they’re considering submitting today’s feat to the Guinness Book of World Records. It could create a new record category – “fastest snails on Earth.”
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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)
HD video – Social short: Great Snail Bail:
HD video – Great Snail Bail (June 22, 2023):
(Shot sheet/transcription attached)
HD video – Year of the Kāhuli-former State Snail Lab (Feb. 24, 2023):
Photographs – Great Snail Bail (June 22, 2023):
Photographs – Year of the Kāhuli-former State Snail Lab (Feb. 24, 2023):
Learn more about Hawai‘i’s rare snails and the Year of the Kāhuli:
Senior Communications Manager