Giant African snails proliferate in Kochi

Willingdon Island, where timber from different parts of the country land, is serving as the hub of the population.

June 27, 2016 12:00 am | Updated October 18, 2016 12:56 pm IST - KOCHI:

With no coordinated control measures, giant African snail populations are proliferating in the city, posing serious health risk. To make matters worse, Willingdon Island, where timber from different parts of the country land, is serving as the hub of the population. Offspring of snails grown from various source populations from across different countries are reaching here.

From Willingdon Island, the populations of snails with better survival and resistance are getting transported to far flung areas of the State making their control and eradication drive all the more difficult. “Snail infestation has been reported from Ayyappankavu, ERG Colony near Kombara, areas near High Court of Kerala, Kunnumpuram and Willingdon Island,” said Hibi Eden, MLA.

Following complaints from the city residents, the legislator had sought the help of the scientists of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute and the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies to suggest control measures.

Call for measures

T.V. Sajeev, coordinator of the Asia Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network, said the absence of coordinated eradication measures must be blamed for the rapid spread of the species all across the district. If the populations go unchecked, its management would become a difficult, he said.

“Repeated and uniform drives for eradicating the populations have to be conducted. The unoccupied and unattended holdings in the city, including the holdings in the possession of various Central government agencies and private individuals, serve as breeding grounds. It’s the local bodies that have to take the lead for the control measures,” said Mr. Sajeev, also an entomologist of the Kerala Forest Research Institute.

Incidentally, the institute, with the support of the Planning Board, had started a campaign in the State for the control of the population. They had also devised scientific control measures.

New population

The invasive species specialists who have been tracking the spread of snail population have identified a new population near Angamaly Railway station. Considerable populations of the species have also been reported at Choondi, Edathala, Palluruthy, Thoppumpady and Mattanchery.

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