A TEAM of British boffins are battling to save a rare snail from extinction - by transporting breeding pairs 150 miles to a purpose-built pond.

The tiny glutinous snail, which measures just 1.5cm (0.6 inches) long, was once widespread across Britain.

But sadly, it is now located in just one lake in Wales, Llyn Tegid, and has become one of Europe’s most endangered animals.

Now staff from Askham Bryan Wildlife Park are hoping to save the species by bringing some of their dwindling population to their site near York.

The team undertook their mercy mission in March last year after visiting the last remaining spawning ground in the Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park.

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And conservationist Ian Hughes, who has been working with the molluscs in Wales for the last ten years, said this was a slither in the right direction.

He said: “The snails have been extinct in England for 30 years, they are going to go into a very well cared for semi-natural pond, and we’re very excited about it”.

The endangered Glutinous Snail.

The endangered Glutinous Snail.

Glutinous snails have see-through, jelly-like mantles that cover their very thin and dainty shells.

And this gives them a shiny look and makes them sticky to touch, hence their name.

Due to their delicate nature, transporting the critically engaged molluscs back to the wildlife park near York was no easy task.

But Lauren Lane from Askham Bryan Wildlife Park said it was important that this life-saving conservation work took place.

She said: “It is imperative that we all work together to ensure there is a future for all species that live in freshwater habitats – 67 species of freshwater snail have gone extinct with a further 450 species threatened, protecting the waters they live in is key to their survival.”

The snails will not be on show to the public just yet, as the team work hard to ensure the species have settled in and have begun breeding successfully.

However, there will be a dedicated Glutinous Snail reserve outdoors for public viewing in the future.