From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Effort to restore a south Pacific species that became extinct in the wild have put it on ‘the road to being saved’, zoo says
Wednesday 27 May 2015 02.44 BST
A hundred endangered snails are on their way to Tahiti to restore a species that became extinct in the wild, the Detroit zoo said on Tuesday.
The zoo has been working for decades to preserve the tiny Partula nodosa snail, one of several species driven out of their native south Pacific habitat by efforts to control another invasive snail species that went awry.
In 1989 the Detroit zoo was sent 115 snails from five related species. The zoo asked other institutions to focus on four species and concentrated on breeding Partula nodosa.
At one time, the zoo had all the known Partula nodosa snails in the world.
“Our efforts and successful breeding of the snails resulted in the rescue and recovery of the species,” said Scott Carter, the zoo’s chief life sciences officer,. “Currently there are 6,000 individuals living in North American zoos, all descendants from the Detroit zoo’s original small group.”
The disappearance of the species and its cousins in the wild was a result of an effort at biological control of giant African land snails, which were introduced to Tahiti and other south Pacific islands in 1967 as a human food source. Some escaped, bred rapidly and began eating farmers’ crops.
To control the African snails, Florida rosy wolf snails were introduced about 10 years later, but the wolf snails instead developed a taste for the Partula nodosa and its cousins.
“With the sufficient growth of the captive population and the establishment of a protected area on Tahiti, this species is officially on the road to being saved,” Carter said.