Scaly-Foot Snail: 1st ever Species Endangered due to Deep Sea Mining

A rare snail species called ‘Scaly-Foot Snail’ found at only three spots on Indian Ocean floor near Madagascar has become the 1st species to be officially declared threatened due to deep-sea mining. It was added by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to its updated Red List of Endangered Species on 18 July 2019.

About Scaly-Foot Snail

Scaly-foot snail (or Chrysomallon squamiferum) is otherwise known as Sea Pangolin. It has become the 1st marine species to be assessed as officially endangered due to potential threat of deep sea mining.

Found: It is found at 3 hydrothermal vents in Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

It was recently added by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to its updated Red List of Endangered Species.

A hydrothermal vent is a fissure on seafloor from which geothermally heated water issues and when this happens, hot water mixes with cold seawater thus depositing minerals such as copper and manganese on ocean floor.

Research: According to the report published in Nature journal, the researchers settled on including snail in new Red List based on the criteria that it was found at just 3 spots on ocean floor and looming threat of deep-sea mining.

Steps Taken: At present there is a freeze on all ocean-floor mining activities globally. Moreover, International Seabed Authority (ISA), a United Nations (UN) agency, is currently formulating guidelines on how to conduct ocean-floor mining, which should be completed by 2020.

Many experts hope that scaly-foot snail finding its way into Red List would act as a deterrent to mining companies and it is not the case then at least 14 more species found in a hydrothermal vent ecosystem could be included in next edition of IUCN’s Red List to be out in late 2019.

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