The Bruneau hot spring-snails that can survive in water as warm as 100 degrees are now found nowhere else in the world, except at the bottom of the southwestern Idaho desert canyon. Riddled with hot springs 70 miles southeast of Boise, these tiny mollusks thrive in this lukewarm stream in the canyon.
It was just a decade ago, these snails were dominating a national battle over federal laws designed to protect endangered species. But, today — years after the lawsuits were decided — these pinhead-sized dotted spring-snails are closer to extinction than ever before.
The level of the underground geothermal aquifer feeding the hot water seeps and springs is dropping! And, hence in turn, the tiny algae-eating snails are being more and more deprived of their only food source as the rock faces are now staying dry and bare of the films of algae.
Though, some blame the aquifer’s decline on drought, others — including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — suspect the pumping of the hot water to irrigate surrounding farmland as the primary cause.
But whatever may the cause be, the thing is that immediate actions are needed to be taken by the government to help the Bruneau hot spring-snails from disappearance for the map.
Photo Credit: AP/Christopher Smith