Ark. mountain snail dropped from endangered list

May 14, 2013, 2:52 pm

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A dime-sized snail found only on Mount Magazine in western Arkansas has become the first invertebrate to be delisted under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday.

The Magazine Mountain shagreen lives on sloping masses of rock fragments at the foot of cliffs, known as talus slopes, and is found on 27 talus slopes on the mountain located in Logan County, just west of Fort Smith.

"The recovery of this species was made possible through collaborative efforts of our partners at the U.S. Forest Service, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to remove threats and protect the habitat of the Magazine Mountain shagreen," said Cindy Dohner, southeast regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The snail was first listed as threatened in 1989. The wildlife service says its population has remained stable since 1996.

Populations of the dusky brown or sand-colored snail are now considered secure as the mountain is entirely owned and protected by the Forest Service and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. The snail prefers cool, moist conditions and inhabits the north and west slopes of the mountain, which is Arkansas' highest peak, above 2,200 feet, an area that's not reached by the park's trails.

Park officials have said the snail was discovered in 1903 by shelled creature specialist Henry Pilsbry, who found it to be unique.

The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, is intended to protect wildlife and plants.

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