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Legal protection for rare snail

PUBLISHED: 11:07 16 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:17 05 July 2010

LEGAL protection for a tiny, rare freshwater snail, whose UK stronghold is in Suffolk, was announced this week by Minister for Wildlife, Joan Ruddock.

From October 1, 2008, the lesser whirlpool ram's-horn snail (Anisus vorticulus) together with the pool frog and the Fisher's estuarine moth will be legally protected through the Habitats Regulations from being killed, taken, injured, disturbed, owned or sold, or having their resting or breeding places destroyed.

LEGAL protection for a tiny, rare freshwater snail, whose UK stronghold is in Suffolk, was announced this week by Minister for Wildlife, Joan Ruddock.

From October 1, 2008, the lesser whirlpool ram's-horn snail (Anisus vorticulus) together with the pool frog and the Fisher's estuarine moth will be legally protected through the Habitats Regulations from being killed, taken, injured, disturbed, owned or sold, or having their resting or breeding places destroyed.

The lesser whirlpool ram's-horn snail is a small aquatic snail with a flattened spiral shell rarely more than 5mm in diameter. It occurs in unpolluted, calcareous waters in marsh drains with dense aquatic foliage and is restricted to a few locations in Norfolk, Suffolk and Sussex. The snail is threatened by land drainage and inappropriate habitat management

The nature reserve managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Carlton Marshes near Lowestoft is the UK stronghold for the species. The site is an extensive area of spring fed grazing marshes on the side of Oulton Broad.

Carlton Marshes is also important for other rare freshwater snails such as Segmentina nitida and Pisidium pseudosphaerium. Management of the site will be tailored to ensure the conservation and survival of the lesser whirlpool ram's-horn snail and other endangered molluscs.

Minister for wildlife Joan Ruddock said: “Working in harmony with nature is becoming more and more important as increasing demands are made on our environment.

“The UK's native species need our support and I hope this announcement will help give them a secure future.”

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