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Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

Snow leopards are very reclusive and are found in the high, rugged mountains of Central Asia. Illegally hunted for the fur trade, snow leopards are very rare. It is estimated that there are only 3,500 to 7,000 remaining in the wild.

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Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail


Local species highlight!

A rare resident found in upstate New York’s backyard! The only place in the world this species exists is at Chittenango Falls State Park. What is it?! An adorable little snail appropriately named the Chittenango ovate amber snail --  or COAS for short. Living in the mist zone of a 167-foot waterfall, this thumbnail-sized land snail glides along vegetation finding delicious leaves to munch on. Recent population surveys of COAS show only about 300 snails exist in the wild.  

Species status:  Endangered

Since COAS only live in one spot in the world, their population is particularly vulnerable to extinction. One event such as a severe flood, drought or rockslide could potentially wipe out their entire population. There also are invasive species of plants encroaching on their habitat that may out-compete native vegetation used by COAS. Human trampling of the habitat is also of concern because these small snails are hard to see and can be easily crushed underfoot. The park has fenced off an area to protect COAS habitat for this very reason

A Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail, known as COAS, affectionately called a "Chitt."


New York State listed COAS as endangered in 1977 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as threatened in 1978. A recovery plan was set in place for their protection. Part of the plan involves establishing captive colonies of COAS to provide backup individuals to the wild population as well as potentially increase the wild population via captive-raised snail releases. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has teamed up with the USFWS, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and SUNY-ESF to help protect the snail.

Captive COAS

Supported by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, research on dietary preferences and husbandry has propelled improvements in captive conditions to support COAS. Terrariums kept inside a temperature controlled incubator house approximately 400 captive COAS between the newly established Rosamond Gifford Zoo colony and a colony of snails kept at SUNY ESF. 

Save the Snails!

The Friends of the Zoo has a fund dedicated to the ongoing effort to save this species from extinction. Click HERE to contribute. THANK YOU!

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