Conservation experts have hailed the first ever release of rare Pond mud snails in the Lothians as a “vital step” in efforts to save the species.
Native to Europe, Pond mud snail populations in the UK have almost halved over the past twenty-five years due to habitat loss. Measuring a little over a centimetre in length and classed as a vulnerable species, the snails were previously found in only seven locations within the central belt of Scotland, a fraction of their former range.
More than 80 snails have now been introduced to a specially created habitat near the Pentland Hills, having been bred at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo key partners of the Marvellous Mud Snails project being run by Buglife Scotland, this project is working to ensure this species doesn’t disappear from Scotland.
Ben Harrower, the charity’s conservation programme manager, said, “It is very encouraging that we now have this new Pond mud snail site, which means there are currently eight populations in Scotland. We were able to release 87 snails in total.
“This is the first time these snails have been bred in a zoo environment and released into the wild in Scotland.
“We are working in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Buglife Scotland and are delighted to have taken this vital step towards saving this little known but fascinating snail.
“Our aim is to continue releasing these snails into suitable sites across Scotland through the Heritage Lottery Funded Marvellous Mud Snails project and to work with partners to create a stable and healthy population throughout central Scotland.”
Alasdair Lemon Conservation Officer, Buglife Scotland “It is fantastic to see our partners at RZSS releasing a population of Pond mud snails into a site just outside Edinburgh and helping ensure this species longevity in Scotland.”