Concern over presence of African snails in forests in Kerala
Thrissur: Concerns have been raised over the presence of invasive African snails in the forests of Kerala. They have also been found on the Plantation Corporation land adjacent to the forest.
The molluscs were first spotted in the plantations at Athirappilly two years ago. A few methods to remove them were adopted then but were not entirely successful. Still, they are present in these areas.
There are no studies conducted yet on the dangers of African snails coming into the forests. As it is a place with thick vegetation, the growth and reproduction of the snails will be faster. Another concern is that the snails destroy the plants in the forest.
As it is difficult to carry out preventive measures inside the forest, their presence will be noticed very late. It is believed that they reached the plantation by the lorries carrying saplings. The locals said that the floodwater had carried them but no accurate reason was identified.
African snails are also found in large numbers not only in the woods but in the countryside as well. It is estimated that they have reached more places after the 2019 floods. These snails have been found in 29 places in different districts of Kerala.
The fact that most of these places are in the vicinity of the river validates the conclusion that the previous year’s flood might be the cause of the invasion. These snails are mainly found in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Palakkad districts.
Dr Keerthi Vijayan, Assistant Professor at the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture in Tamil Nadu Kalasalingam University, said that the invasion of these giant African snails into the Western Ghat areas like Kerala are concerning and need research on this very soon.