Before they made their big flight to the South Pacific, the snails were adorned with dots of red, UV-reflective paint to help conservationists find them in the dark. Photo Credit: Zoological Society of London, Video: RZSS

AnimalsEnvironment French Polynesia13. May 2023

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Decades Later, These Snails Return to Restore Balance

Once extinct in the wild, Partula snails just made history as scientists reintroduced 5,000 of the gastropods back to French Polynesia.

“This was a win for the ongoing conservation efforts of these highly endangered snails,” says Kayla Garcia, zoological manager of invertebrates at the Saint Louis Zoo.

Over the last three decades, scientists and conservationists have been working to bring the snails back from the brink of disappearance. Last month, their efforts paid off when they traveled over 9,300 miles to release thousands of the snails to the French islands of Moorea and Tahiti. The mission is clear: these critically endangered snails have the ability to restore balance to the islands’ delicate ecosystems.

Smithsonian Magazine

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