By Kevin Heath
It seems that if it’s alive and moves – no matter how slowly – then it’s a target for poachers and in the UK that means some snails are under threat from local poachers.
A report in Surrey Today has highlighted the threat to some of it’s endangered snail species from poachers. The snail of choice for poachers in Banstead Woods appears to be the Roman snail. The poachers sell the snails – that can fetch up to £500 for 15kg - to local restaurants.
Roman snail restricted to a few southern England counties.
The Roman snail, (Helix pomatia), is also known as the pot lid or apple snail but is more popularly known in culinary circles as the edible snail – l’escargot. It is Britian’s largest native snail and is restricted to a few southern counties in England. Attempts have been made to increase the range of the snail in the UK but these have failed to be successful.
Two thirds of populations lost in 2 years to poaching. Local conservationists have highlighted that over two thirds of some local populations have been lost in the last 2 years alone. The snail has full protection under UK wildlife laws.
The local conservation volunteers, Woodchip, now want the police to become more active in the fight against the poachers.
Roman snail fully protected under British law.
In England the Roman snail is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it illegal to kill, injure, collect or sell Roman snails.
Andy Keay, a member of the volunteers, told the Mirror: “A lot of people say they are only snails.
“But they must be three to five years old to breed: if you take them all out, you’re going to devastate the number very quickly.
“It makes me very angry. If we catch anyone poaching in future we’ll call 999.”
At the beginning of May, Mr Keay and a group of volunteers were carrying out night-time surveys on the 160-acre former deer park off Holly Lane in Banstead, when they caught sight of a man in camouflage with two bags of snails. More....