Conserving the Obo snail

Wednesday 2nd March 2022


Sliding towards extinction
Let me introduce you to the Obô snail. 

They are giant – they have gargantuan shells roughly the size and shape of a croissant, and an impressive tree-climbing ability that’s allowed them to live undisturbed in Sao Tome and Príncipe’s forests for millennia.

But over the last few decades, their peaceful existence has been shattered. 

These harmless, unassuming snails have been targeted – tracked down by those seeking out their flesh for food. They have been uprooted from the forest in their thousands – peeled out of their shells to be served up as delicacies.  

In fact, so many snails have been plucked from their home that it’s now hard to find them. It has been reported that where it was once possible to harvest 450 Obô snails every month, now 30-40 per month are found. 

They have been harvested to the brink of extinction. And the truth is, they may not last much longer.

Snails are vitally important indicators of a healthy ecosystem, so the decline of the Obô snail could have extremely worrying consequences for the wider forest.  

On the island of Príncipe alone, the Obô snail population has already dropped by more than 75% in the last 20 years. We must do something to stop this spiralling decline.  

This is where you come in.   

With your support, we can work with our passionate local partners to help keep these extraordinary snails alive and their forest habitat safe and intact. 

We must halt this looming death sentence for these harmless, unassuming snails. Together, let’s help them and their forest habitat thrive for years to come. 
Please help save the Obô snail. If everyone reading this donates just £3, you could help us put the protection in place to save these marvellous animals. Thank you.

Jonathan Downes
Cryptozoologist, naturalist, musician, singer, composer, poet, novelist and Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology since 1992. Jon was born in Portsmouth in 1959 and spent his infancy in Nigeria and his childhood in Hong Kong. His wife Corinna died of cancer in 2020, leaving him with two stepdaughters and a six year old granddaughter called Evelyn.