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Call for Conservation Minister to Protect Snail

Press Release

24/02/06
For Immediate use

Environmentalists Call on Conservation Minister to Protect Snail

The Save Happy Valley Coalition has strengthened its call to the Minister of Conservation to save an endangered carnivorous land snail from extinction. A live snail was recently found during mining operations on a part of the Mt Augustus ridgeline where state owned coal miner Solid Energy was not aware they existed. This has halted operations on this part of the ridgeline, awaiting the decision from Chris Carter. However, heavy machinery continues work from the northern end (Rockies) and to the south (Mt Frederick).

"Solid Energy must not ever resume operations in the last remaining habitat of the absolutely protected Powelliphanta "augustus." Department of Conservation snail expert Kath Walker states that there are merely 300-400 snails in existence. Mining the area will cause the first state-sponsored species extinction in New Zealand," said Frances Mountier, Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson.

"Even in the miniscule amount of remaining "augustus" habitat, Solid Energy is not clear where the snails are located, and they are intent on crushing much of it in the process of building their rock-fall fence. They certainly cannot be trusted with the fate of an entire species" said Frances.

"Solid Energy has already sold the coal under the snail habitat. Their concerns have nothing to do with jobs; rather they have created themselves a highly embarrassing situation. If the only way Solid Energy knows how to run its business is by pushing species to extinction, then it is time it seriously rethinks its operation," said Frances.

"Solid Energy is a state owned enterprise. The Labour Government needs to take control of their company. The fate of these snails sits entirely in the hands of the Minister of Conservation," said Frances.

ENDS

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