Say Goodbye to the Aldaba Snail

NWF   |   August 15, 2007

The first species extinction directly tied to global warming was reported as scientists declared the Aldaba banded snail extinct. The Aldaba snail dwelled on the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, and the last sighting of this creature with its conspicuous, purple-colored shell dates back to 1997.

Scientists report that longer and warmer summers are to blame for the deaths of all juvenile snails, and attribute the changing climate to global warming. "I think what we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg in terms of extinction events. I expect that we’re going to be seeing more stories like this," says scientist Debbie Debinski of Iowa State University.

There may be other species that have gone extinct because of climate change but this is the first confirmed extinction. Several species of frogs for example, known to be under climate related stresses, have been in steep decline in recent years and have not been seen recently.

These warming trends and their attendant consequences on wildlife populations are what have been predicted by global warming models. Up to one third of species on the planet are predicted to go extinct due to the effects of global warming unless we act now to reduce emissions and put our country and the world on an energy path that makes more sense for everyone.

Do you want to explain to your children (or your nieces, or the kids on your block) what could happen to one third of the creatures on the planet we’re going to leave them if we don’t act? Do you want to explain to them one day why there used to be polar bears?

Published: August 15, 2007