As part of the four-year LIFE* program "SOS Criquet de Crau" (2021-2025), the Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, the Chambre d'agriculture des Bouches-du-Rhône, the Parc animalier de La Barben and the Citadelle de Besançon have joined forces to save the Crau cricket. The project aims to strengthen wild populations by reintroducing their offspring into the wild. Classified as critically endangered, the Crau Cricket is an endemic species of the Plaine de la Crau, just outside Arles, home to a unique steppe biodiversity.
The dry grasslands of the Crau plain hide a cricket like no other. A specialist in camouflage, the Crau cricket doesn't sing, doesn't fly and moves very little. While this discretion is an advantage against predators, its immobility makes it all the more vulnerable to the fragmentation and degradation of its habitat, the coussoul, a dry grassland ecosystem on the Crau plain just outside Arles. This species, found nowhere else in the world, is now in serious decline. The Crau cricket is an "umbrella" species, and preserving this rare and threatened species means protecting its natural environment and all the species associated with it.
*What is LIFE?
The LIFE program (Financial Instrument for the Environment) is one of the European Commission's main financial tools for supporting projects in environmental and climate-related fields, such as species and habitat conservation, soil protection, air or water quality improvement, waste management or climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Provence-Alpes-Côte d' Azur is coordinating the LIFE SOS Cricket de Crau project. The Bouches-du-Rhône Chamber of Agriculture, co-manager with the Conservatoire of the Coussouls de Crau National Nature Reserve, is leading the grazing activities. The zoological parks of La Barben and the Citadelle de 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.
To find out more :
The LIFE SOS Crau Locust program - www.lifecriquetdecrau.com
the LIFE program - https://cinea.ec.europa.eu/programmes/life_en