Snail bounty registration begins

Registration for the Giant African Snail bounty programme begins today at the Plant Protection Unit’s headquarters, in the Central Cotton Station Building on Friars Hill Road.

As part of the eradication programme for the destructive Giant African Snail, members of the public are asked to register as bounty hunters.

The Giant African Snail that was first spotted here in the Jolly Hill community about a decade ago and has since spread to other parts of the island, prompting the Plant Protection Unit in the Agriculture Ministry to issue a quarantine order, considered an essential step in curbing further spread of the snail.

Since then further efforts have been made to include many snail collection drives, a farmer baiting programme, and public education on collecting and the proper disposal of the snails.

Giant African land snails are highly invasive and can cause extensive damage to important food crops and other agricultural and natural resources. These snails can also pose a risk to human health and is said to be linked to meningitis.

It is very important that the snails, eggs, and bedding are collected and properly disposed of. In addition to the health risk they may pose, Giant African land snails have a huge appetite. The pest is one of the most destructive snails in the world. They are known to eat at least 500 different types of

plants.

If fruits or vegetables are not available, the snails will eat a variety of ornamental plants, tree bark and even paint.

Giant African land snails also reproduce rapidly, laying as many as 100 to 400 eggs in a single session. Snails contain both male and female reproductive organs and can lay up to 1,200 eggs per year.

Individuals, who are interested in being bounty hunters, are asked to register from today to September 20.

Applicants must be 18 years or older and are requested to bring along a valid Social Security card.

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