Geographical Range Formerly Tahiti, in the South Pacific
Habitat Moist forests
Scientific Name Partula nodosa, Partula taeniata
Conservation Status Extinct in the wild

Nine species of Partula snails were once common on the South Pacific island of Tahiti. Sadly, three of the them are now extinct. A fourth species, Partula nodosa, is thought to be extinct in the wild and only survives in captivity.

When the French Polynesian government allowed the importation of African land snails as a food source, it indirectly spelled doom for many Partula species. When the African land snails began eating local crops, yet another predatory snail was brought to the island to control it. But the predator snails ate the Partula snails instead of the African snail. By 1987, many species of Partula snails had gone extinct on Tahiti and nearby Moorea.

Fortunately, a limited number of Partula snails survive in zoos. A number of zoos, including the Saint Louis Zoo, are breeding them in the hope that they can be returned to their native island.

The Saint Louis Zoo normally uses the status designations assigned by IUCN, the World Conservation Union. IUCN lists this snail species as extinct, yet we have live partula snails in our Zoo. So in this case, we stand by our designation "Extinct in the Wild."