Within the framework of the LIFE* program "SOS Criquet de Crau", spread over four years (2021-2025), the Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, the Chamber of Agriculture of the Bouches-du-Rhône, the animal park of La Barben and the Citadelle of Besançon have joined forces for the safeguard of the Crau cricket. This project aims to strengthen the wild populations by reintroducing their offspring into the natural environment. Classified as critically endangered, the Crau Cricket is an endemic species of the Crau Plain, located at the gates of Arles, home to a unique steppe biodiversity.
The Crau Cricket
The dry grasslands of the Crau plain hide a cricket like no other. Specialist of camouflage, the Crau cricket does not sing, does not fly and moves very little. If this discretion is an advantage against predators, its immobility makes it all the more vulnerable to the fragmentation and degradation of its habitat, the cushion, an ecosystem of dry grasslands of the Crau Plain located at the gates of Arles. This species, which is found nowhere else, is today in strong regression. The Crau cricket is a so-called "umbrella" species, the preservation of this very rare and threatened species means protecting its natural environment and all the species associated with this environment.
*What is LIFE?
The LIFE program (Financial Instrument for the Environment) is one of the main financial tools of the European Commission to support projects in the fields of environment and climate such as species and habitat conservation, soil protection, air or water quality improvement, waste management or climate change mitigation or adaptation.
The project partners
The Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur is the coordinator of the LIFE SOS Cricket de Crau project. The Bouches-du-Rhône Chamber of Agriculture, co-manager with the Conservatory of the Coussouls de Crau National Nature Reserve, is piloting the actions related to grazing. The zoological parks of La Barben and the Citadelle of Besançon contribute their expertise and skills to the breeding of this species, which is difficult to reproduce, and raise public awareness of this little-known species.
For more information:
The LIFE SOS Cricket program - www.lifecriquetdecrau.com
The LIFE program - https://cinea.ec.europa.eu/programmes/life_en