AFRICAN SNAIL A THREAT TO FOOD SECURITY AND PEOPLE  

 

The Giant African Land Snail, which is an invasive species endemic to the East African Region has now been sighted in the Bellevue Rawle.

The African Land Snail has been on island for the past thirteen years, however, the Ministry of Agriculture through the, Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit (PPQU) has been successful in containing the spread of this species throughout the island.

The snail poses a threat to agriculture as it consumes over five hundred species of plants, as well as a threat to human life as it can cause meningitis when ingested.

Infection with rat lungworm can occur after consuming raw Giant African Land snails, and when unwashed fruits and vegetables containing the juvenile are ingested.

Currently, the Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit is strategically and systematically implementing plans to eradicate the species.

Agricultural Officer, Mr. Kellie Maronie explained that they have done physical picking of the snail which has multiplied considerably since the initial sightings and are now in the process of using pesticides to manage and curb the spread.

“We will also be doing nocturnal surveillance because the snail is a nocturnal creature. After we have completed the baiting, we expect to find very few to no live snails,” Mr. Maronie stated.

The Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit has conducted surveillance in which they have successfully gathered snails.