Mollusks in the Pacific Northwest have recently been found to be possible candidates for the Endangered Species Protection Act by officials from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. There are 26 species of snails and slugs that will be investigated over the next 12 months to determine if federal protection is necessary for the little shelled creatures.
This decision comes three years after conservation groups sought protection for 32 different mollusk species that have been threatened by the loss of old-growth forests, where they reside.
"We're really pleased that these under-appreciated species have advanced toward the Endangered Species Act protection they need to survive," said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Mollusks may be small and often slimy, but they're a vital food source for other animals, key to nutrient cycling and important indicators of forest and watershed health. Saving them will help keep the Pacific Northwest's nature intact for future generations."
Snails and slugs are an integral part of the food chain in this region. They provide food for birds, reptiles, fish and other animals, and the shells of snails also serve as homes for other small creatures. However, their habitat is diminishing due to logging and water pollution. Their sensitivity to pollutants also indicates that the region may be in even more trouble if nothing is done to save animals
in the Pacific Northwest.