RIP Lonesome George, a Hawaiian Snail Gone Extinct
The flag poles were lowered when former president George Bush died and those flags just went back up, but now another George has died.
Hawaii's endemic species developed in isolation for many, many years. Today, they face an onslaught from some more aggressive species that have been introduced from outside. One of the victims has been a species of Hawaiian snail that has just gone extinct.
The native snail known as Achatinella apexfulva no longer exists after its last surviving member, nicknamed George after a tortoise in a similar predicament, recently passed into snail heaven. Unfortunately, introduced species such as rats, lizards, and even predatory snails have been stronger such that there were only 10 representatives of A. apexfulva left in the world when all were taken into captivity to try and breed them.
George was the only offspring of that program who lived. Eventually, everyone died except for George. And now George has gone also. Such a fate is sad for these species, who deserve our support and protection as much as possible.
The picture above shows the snail George before his passing. Courtesy of the Hawaiian Department of Natural Resources.