MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. — Chittenango Falls is a scenic destination, but also home to the ovate amber snail.
"We have an endangered snail that lives only here. It lives nowhere else in the world and we’re trying to save it, to make sure its population is robust," said Dr. Rebecca Rundell, SUNY-ESF. "We’re working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and two local zoos, the Rochester zoo and the Syracuse zoo in order to help conserve this snail."
The snail lives in the spray zone of the falls. We’re not pinpointing exactly where, to help protect it.
Step one this summer is a survey of the snail population.
"The second part is to bring 10 individuals into captivity and use an incubator, creating the proper conditions, and I’m going to try to breed them and use that as a head start program to increase their population numbers at the falls," said graduate student Cody Gilbertson.
"We’re (also) hoping to have a couple of captive colonies at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo as well as the Seneca Park Zoo so that we can use that as an outreach for other people to become aware of the snails and hopefully increase their numbers as whole."
"We’ve lost so many of these species and this is one of those species that’s still hanging on so it’s pretty exciting to still have the chance to be able to save it," Rundell said.
"It’s important to remember that whether it’s an elephant or a snail, they’re both equally important in our world," said Gilbertson.