The thermal springs found at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, and all along Sulphur Mountain, support Banff National Park's most endangered life form: the Banff springs snail.

This fascinating mollusc is found nowhere else on Earth!

Banff Springs Snail Recovery Actions


[Shots on the Cave and Basin marsh loop footpath. Presenter turns camera 360 degrees to show mountain landscape]

Anyway the coolest thing that I've found since I got here is something... that's unique to Banff National Park and actually unique in the whole world...

and it's really, really small. I mean you are not going to believe this.That's why I'm making this video and then I'll put it up on You Tube.So let's go check this out.

[Fast action travel to Cave in Cave and Basin]

[Interior of the Cave at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site]

This place is really cool but it really smells. It has that rotten egg smell which apparently is hydrogen sulphide.

[Macrovideo of the Banff Springs snail]

[Charlie Pacas:Interior of the Cave at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site]

The snail is unique to Banff National Park. It's a species that's only found in seven locations on Sulphur Mountain... and nowhere else in the world.

[Dwayne Lepitzki:Shots of researcher monitoring the habitat]


[Upper boardwalk at Cave and Basin]

I mean that's wild. And did you know that the total habitat area is not much larger than a basketball court.

So the challenge they have here is how do you protect such a small animal. I'm not sure but Charlie has some answers.

[Charlie Pacas:Interior of the Cave at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site]

[Middle Springs]

So if we can protect the thermal spring environments then we're well on our way to being able to protect the species..


Now I wasn't quite sure what they meant by "critical habitat".but Dwayne was able to explain it.

[Dwayne Lepitzki:]

[Shots of gas bubbles and leaves on algal mat]

like the gas bubbles bubbling up from the bottom, the aspen leaves and the other deciduous leaves falling into the water,all those are components of critical habitat for this species.

[Presenter:Upper boardwalk at Cave and Basin]

[Charlie Pacas:Shots of researcher monitoring the habitat and analyzing water samples]

[Dwayne Lepitzki:]

before Parks Canada has to take any additional protection measures to ensure that the species survives.

[Presenter: Shot of Parks Canda staff member monitoring the Basin at the Cave and Basin]

They're here looking for any changes to the mat of algae and bacteria the snails live on changes in water depth or water quality...

as well as any signs of disturbance to the natural habitat which is critical. .

[Dwayne Lepitzki:Shots of researchers monitoring the habitat and analyzing water samples]

So the reason it's important for us to monitor water chemistry is because it answers a number of questions.

Snail populations go up and down all the time through the season but also along the outflow streams.

So what we are trying to do is relate the biology and the ecology of the species to some of the physical water chemistry.

Then we visually count all the snails within each of the different micro-sites.

[Presenter:Lower boardwalk at Cave and Basin]

We've heard a lot about protecting these little guys but wait, what is it we're protecting them from? Dwayne - what are the biggest threats?

[Dwayne Lepitzki: Middle Springs]

That's one of the reasons that it is classified as endangered so something that used to be very uncommon, that is the thermal spring drying.....

are becoming more and more common. And if you don't have thermal water, you don't have Banff Springs snails.


[Charlie Pacas: Middle Springs]

And since the reestablishment of the snails, our recovery actions indicate that the snail populations are increasing and doing extremely well.

[Presenter: (Lower boardwalk at Cave and Basin)]

And it seems like the populations are doing really well and even increasing thanks to the work by Parks Canada and the researchers.

So way to go you snails! You're home is safe here in Banff National Park.

[Charlie Pacas: Shot of Garter snake at Cave and Basin]

We need to be able to understand how people interact within these environments and what we want to try and do is ensure that...

we minimize the impacts to the snail while still.allowing the public to enjoy the surroundings of the Cave and Basin.

[Presenter: Lower boardwalk at Cave and Basin]

[Dwayne Lepitzki:Basin at the Cave and Basin]

[Charlie Pacas:Macrovideo of the Banff Springs snail]

it would be similar to losing the grizzly bear on the terrestrial environments and it's something that no-one would like to see.

[Presenter: Lower boardwalk at Cave and Basin]

Well this is snail girl, over and out.


[Producer/Director/Editor Glen Crawford]

[Snail Girl Kelsey Brill Funk]

[Production Manager Duncan M. Bayne Macro Videography Noel Begin]

[Production Assistance Colin Funk Jordan Crawford]

[Glen Crawford Production Services]

[Parks Canada logo]

[© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Parks Canada, 2012.]

[Canada wordmark.]

Species at Risk - Banff Springs Snail