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The release of captive bred snails (Partula taeniata) into a semi-natural environment


A population of zoo bred Partula taeniata was released into a patch of native Polynesian plants in the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, UK. The released snails were from a colony established from wild-caught snails in 1982, which had been in captive conditions for up to six generations. Monitoring of the snails was continuous and intensive for the first 2 weeks, and at decreasing frequency over the next 15 months. There was high survivorship early on in the release, but once the intensive monitoring ended survivorship became hard to determine due to difficulties in locating snails in the large and complex habitat. However, snails are known to have persisted for at least 15 months, and new individuals have been noted maturing into all developmental stages. The snails exhibited patterns of feeding and microhabitat choice similar to those observed in the wild, despite being reared in a highly artificial environment. The methods and results provide some guidelines for future release trials for this highly endangered group of snails.

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Pearce-Kelly, P., Mace, G.M. & Clarke, D. The release of captive bred snails (Partula taeniata) into a semi-natural environment. Biodiversity and Conservation 4, 645–663 (1995).

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