On Thursday, New Zealand's Department of Conservation announced that 800 endangered giant snails froze to death after a temperature gauge malfunctioned in Hokitika. The snails were being kept in a temperature-controlled room after being rescued from the site of a mining operation. "First, their natural home was destroyed for a coalmine on Stockton Plateau, and now they've died in captivity," said Nicola Vallance of New Zealand's Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. "This tragedy was entirely avoidable." Thought to be extinct until 2003, Powelliphanta is a large, carnivorous land snail found only in New Zealand. Eating mostly slugs and earthworms, the gastropod has a shell up to nine centimeters across and can live for 20 years or longer.
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