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Last Hawaiian Tree Snail "George" dies

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From National Geographic:

Lonely George the tree snail dies, and a species goes extinct
One famous snail’s death highlights the plight faced by diverse Hawaiian snails, of which there were once hundreds of species.

By Christie Wilcox
PUBLISHED January 8, 2019

lonesome-george-snail.ngsversion.1546965

 

The world’s loneliest snail is no more.

George, a Hawaiian tree snail—and the last known member of the species Achatinella apexfulva—died on New Year’s Day. He was 14, which is quite old for a snail of his kind.

George was born in a captive breeding facility at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in the early 2000s, and soon after, the rest of his kin died. That’s when he got his name—after Lonesome George, the Pinta Island tortoise who was also the last of his kind.

For over a decade, researchers searched in vain for another member of the species for George to mate with, to no avail. (Though these snails are hermaphrodites, two adults must mate to produce offspring, and researchers refer to George as a “he.”)

“I’m sad, but really, I’m more angry because this was such a special species, and so few people knew about it,” says Rebecca Rundell, an evolutionary biologist with State University of New York who used to help care for George and his kin.


Throughout his life, George was a public face for the struggles facing Hawaiian land snails. His death highlights both the vast diversity of indigenous snails—and their desperate plight.

“I know it’s just a snail, but it represents a lot more,” says David Sischo, a wildlife biologist with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and coordinator of the Snail Extinction Prevention Program.

Silencing the forest

Snails were once incredibly numerous in Hawaii, and the loss of a species is a blow to the ecosystem. Records from the 19th century claim that 10,000 or more shells could be collected in a single day. “Anything that is abundant in the forest is an integral part of it,” says Michael Hadfield, an invertebrate biologist who ran the captive breeding program for rare native Hawaiian snails until the late 2000s.

And these creatures are incredibly diverse: There were once more than 750 species of land snail in Hawaii, including a little over 200 in the tree snail family.

When they arrived on the islands, the snails branched out and took on a variety of ecological roles. Some of these species came to function as decomposers—like earthworms, which are not native to the islands—and fulfill the essential ecological role of breaking down detritus.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/01/george-the-lonely-snail-dies-in-hawaii-extinction/

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Very sad. Hate seeing species becoming extinct. 

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Oh no. That's sad. What amazing creatures they are. 

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😢

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Sad, and we are to blame. We’re in the midst of a new mass extinction. 

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1 hour ago, Magician said:

 

So sad. :cries: I despair at how animals are treated in this world.  The way environmentalists are demonised a lot in the mainstream press is horrible when they are telling the truth and trying to stop extinctions and cruelty to animals.  The human race and it's greed has so much to answer for

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This cartoon breaks my heart and could be a reality so soon.  

No photo description available.

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10 hours ago, Jazzy Jan said:

So sad. :cries: I despair at how animals are treated in this world.  The way environmentalists are demonised a lot in the mainstream press is horrible when they are telling the truth and trying to stop extinctions and cruelty to animals.  The human race and it's greed has so much to answer for

Possible extinction in the wild but not in captivity.

They can be found in Singapore Bird Park.

https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park/animals-and-zones/blue-macaws.html

Hopefully they are able to reproduce more.

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Snails are small.  there might be loads left but they just haven't been found. 

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Don't forget they were very fragile and vulnerable to many predators.

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