IN SITU CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF HIGHLY ENDANGERED ENDEMIC TREE SNAILS OF FRENCH POLYNESIA
A project of Wildlife Survival Fund: Investing in endangered species before it’s too late.
French Polynesia, South Pacific, part of the IUCN Micronesia-Polynesia
IUCN Red List Status of Focal Species
Of the 72 recorded species in the family, 22 species are extant: 11 are extinct in the wild but surviving in the international breeding program, 9 are critically endangered, and 2 are considered vulnerable. 45 species have gone extinct and data is missing for 5 species.
About the Project
The Partulid Global Species Management Programme’s mission is to preserve and enhance the survival prospects of all endemic tree snail species of the family Partulidae within their natural range of French Polynesia facing extinction after the introduction of the carnivorous Rosey wolfsnail including the extinct in the wild Tahitian species Partula nodosa. The intent is to reintroduce the several Partula SSP collection populations currently in the international breeding program in which Woodland Park Zoo participates into secure reserves, or protected areas, on two of the islands of origin for those species.
2016 saw the first of the anticipated releases of Partula from the breeding program back into their host range. The release took place at two locations on Tahiti, Papehue Valley and Te Faaiti Valley, and consisted of 500 individuals of three species. The release was an experiment, limited in scope, with the aim of giving preliminary data and a comparison between the two release strategies (secure reserve [Te Faaiti] and tree release [Papehue]). Initial data in Papehue Valley was very promising as mortality was less than 20%; most of the adults dispersed into the habitat and a number of young born in situ were recorded and were seen growing. The reserve was less encouraging as mortality was high due to hot, dry conditions, unavoidable as tree shade was limited to avoid falling trees crushing the barrier. Access was totally blocked during rain.
2016 will be a pivotal year in the re-establishment program as a number of much wider scale Partula releases are planned on at least two, and hopefully, three of their islands of origin. This will include large scale Partula reintroductions from the SSP Partula institutions.
Project Mission: To preserve and enhance the survival prospects of all surviving endemic tree snail species of the family Partulidae within their natural range in French Polynesia, and to re-establish, where feasible, the 11 species that currently exist only in the international breeding program.
Tree Snails at Woodland Park Zoo
Just beyond Bug World, zoo visitors will encounter the Tree Snail Laboratory where they can get a look inside our partulid snail breeding program. You might see zookeepers tending to the snails or catch a glimpse of the newest generation of snail offspring.
To learn more:
Go inside the snail lab in this video