LAST CHANCE TO SAVE, THE RUSH TO CONSERVE HAWAI'I'S ICONIC LAND SNAIL FAUNA.
David R. Sischo; Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources; 1151 Punchbowl St. Rm. 325, Honolulu, HI, 96813; (808) 587-0033; david.r.sischo@hawaii.gov;
With over 750 species in ten families the Hawaiian Islands experienced one of the most diverse land snail radiations in the world. From legends to lei, and later to theories of evolution, the iconic land-snail species of the Islands are important components of healthy forest ecosystems, and have influenced local culture and scientific thought for centuries. With 99% of snail species being single island endemics, they are vulnerable to a host of anthropogenic disturbances. Unfortunately, due largely to introduced invasive predators and climate change, what hasn't already vanished is facing imminent extinction. Catastrophic declines observed in wild populations within the past two years have foreshadowed the end for many species. In a rush to prevent extinction, the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources Snail Extinction Prevention Program (SEPP), and partners across the state, are "manning the lifeboats" using novel techniques involving captive propagation, predator-proof fencing, translocation, and reintroduction, to stabilize and recover some of the island's, and arguably the world's, most vulnerable species. Here we will report on the status of wild populations, as well as the techniques being employed in extinction intervention.
The Anthropocene: Decline & Extinction II