Friday, November 11, 2011

The death of a New Zealand snail due to technology failure

by Tiffany Takade

Several years ago, about 6,000 different animal species had to be evacuated from the Stockton Plateau on South Island in New Zealand to anticipate a new coal-mining site. Out of the 6,000, only about 4,000 of the evacuated species have been relocated to new habitats.

Eight hundred specimen of the rare Powelliphanta giant land snail, originally found on this New Zealand site, were being kept by the Department of Conservation in a temperature-controlled room. Last Thursday, however, a temperature probe in “one of the three containers” had failed, plummeting temperatures in the room, and freezing all 800 of the snails to death. The department plans to breed the snails back into recovery from the 360 eggs that they still have.

At the end of the article, Nicola Vallance of New Zealand’s Forest and Bird Organisation comments on how avoidable the situation had been. The fact is that the snails were unable to be moved back into the wild because of unavailability of habitat due to human invasion. Though efforts had been made to conserve the habituating species, it is obvious that the natural world cannot be sustained in the laboratory. This is a significant example on the side of conservation versus that of human intervention, but it is unlikely that this will make an impact on corporate development.

"Mishap Freezes to Death 800 Rare New Zealand Snails." BBC News. 11 Nov. 2011. Web.

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