Can one man save the world's smallest snail?

Pity the poor partula rosea snail. Once native to the Pacific Islands, the rosea is now extinct in the wild -- along with 58 other partula species.

In fact, there are now just 209 partula rosea left on the planet -- and half of them live in a single, climate-controlled room in Britain's Marwell Zoo.

The entire partula snail genus was nearly wiped out 30 years ago when African land snails were imported to Polynesia as food. When locals balked at eating the snails, they were released into the wild. But the African snails soon thrived and started eating crops, so yet another snail species was introduced, this time the Florida rosy wolfsnail. Well, the wolfsnail got themselves a taste of partula and quickly ate 49 species into extinction. Ten other species, including the rosea, now exist only in captivity. 


Snail keeper Geoff Read knows he has a massive responsibility on his hands. The fate of an entire species rests with him. Let's wish him -- and the partula rosea -- luck for the future.

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