THE invasive African giant snails have found their way into Malaita and rapidly populating at provincial capital Auki.
Malaita’s chief agriculture officer John Faleka confirmed to the Solomon Star the snails have been found in large numbers at Sikitae Marine Police headquarters in Auki.
“They were found in machineries brought into Auki from Honiara over the past weeks,” he said.
Mr Faleka said that contractor should have their machineries and equipments inspected by Quarantine before sending them over to Malaita.
“This carelessness has now resulted in the spread of this deadly snail into Malaita.
“Now, Malaitans must prepare to face the onslaught of the snails as well already know how damaging these pests are to food crops and other plants.”
Mr Faleka added that the news does not come as a surprise to his division because similar reports of the snails have been received from north Malaita.
He could not say what action his division will take to contain the pests but appealed to Malaitans to report any sightings of the snails in their area.
African giant snails were believed to have been brought into the country by logging firm Earthmovers Ltd, through used logging machineries it brought here.
The snails were initially found only in Honiara, but had since spread to other parts of Guadalcanal.
Malaita is the first province to report sighting of the snail.
By WILLIAM EKOTANI