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Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13256542

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 13256542) - Polynesian tree snail, 'areho' in Tahitian - Awarded $15,000 on November 01, 2013

Since the disastrous introduction of the carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea to the islands of French Polynesia in the 1970s most of the species of endemic partulid tree snail have gone extinct. Fortunately, forward-thinking researchers began collecting individuals from the wild before they disappeared and these collections formed the foundation of an international breeding programme that has now lasted for almost 30 years. 

For the last 15 years there has been close collaboration between the institutions involved in the breeding programme and the local government authorities overseeing conservation on the Territory. Since 2003 a resident biologist (Dr Trevor Coote), previously funded by the Environment Department of French Polynesia and with salary support from the Partulid Global Species Management Programme, has carried out extensive surveys to clarify the status of the remaining relict populations within their home range and that of Euglandina rosea and other threats to their survival. The groundwork has now been laid for the long-term conservation and management of the surviving endemic tree snails and their re-establishment back onto the host islands of species from the breeding programme.

The proposed Partula conservation project has four key objectives:

  • The weekly monitoring and maintenance of a secure reserve built on Tahiti in 2012 for the reestablishment of 3 species of Partula from the breeding programme
  • The intensive monitoring of a number of natural habitat release populations (into non-secured locations) repatriated from the breeding programme
  • To carry out simultaneous field research into the ecology and control of the carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea, with a view to expanding the release option to other islands. There has been almost a hundred years of research into Partula snails, notable in the field of ecological genetics and speciation.
  • To publish educational materials: a mini field guide covering the family Partulidae with a descriptive key to surviving species and a warning poster about the introduction of the carnivorous Euglandina rosea and the New Guinea flatworm, another potential serious threat.

 



Project 13256542 location - French Polynesia, Oceania