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Solid Energy is the “emergency” threatening snails

Solid Energy is the “emergency” threatening land snails

Solid Energy’s claim that an “emergency” exists which justifies its proposal to translocate a threatened giant land snail is ridiculous, as they are the ones threatening the snail’s extinction according to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.

Solid Energy’s draft application for a permit to move the snails shows that the “emergency” is its own proposal to mine the last known habitat of the threatened giant land snail Powelliphanta “Augustus” in October this year.

“There is clearly no ‘emergency’”, Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell said.

“At any time Solid Energy could choose not to mine this tiny five hectare site,”

Solid Energy however, seems intent on moving the snails with or without the Department of Conservation’s approval. In the documentation attached to the draft translocation plan Solid Energy states if it can not obtain a permit to move the individual snails, it will adopt other options such as ‘direct transfer’ of their habitat[1].

“They are saying that if they fail to get permission to transfer the snails by hand, they will instead transfer them using diggers.”

“Solid Energy apparently believes it is above the law, as such a move would be an offence under the Wildlife Act without lawful authority,” said Mr Hackwell. “Both the Government, as shareholders, and the Board of Solid Energy should be insisting that the company obeys the law.”

“Both DOC and Solid Energy’s own experts say the snails should stay where they are. However, Solid Energy wants to move some snails to a new area which they have previously failed to colonise, and just hope that they might survive while the company then sets about destroying the remainder of the population.”

“This strategy carries a huge risk of failure which could easily lead to the extinction of this species. No amount of profit from coal sales will compensate for such a loss”.

Forest and Bird has sent a briefing paper to all Ministers seeking urgent Government intervention. The briefing paper notes, “The possible state sanctioned extinction of an endemic New Zealand species is not an operational matter to be deferred to the Board of Solid Energy. It is an issue for all Ministers in the Government to take action on.”

“The government should insist that the proposal to mine the last of the giant land snail’s habitat in October is immediately suspended.”


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