The Giri Putri crab is Critically Endangered because its area of occupancy is only about 0.003 kmÂ² and the habitat is imminently threatened by uncontrolled and increasing tourism and religious practices.
The primary threat to this crab is the increasing use of the cave by pilgrims and worshippers at the main cave of Giri Putri. In 1994 when the crab was discovered the infrastructure was minimal, but now there are walkways and seating across part of the cave floor, and electric lights. Visits since the original discovery have noted a decline in the abundance of the crab.
It is possible that the crabs benefit from food offerings left and spilled on the ground but this is not yet confirmed. There is no local knowledge of the crabs or their status and there are no conservation actions in place.
This SOS - Save Our Species project is taking action to consult actively with the community and inform the pilgrims in culturally sensitive ways. The most effective, feasible preliminary action is to gain the cooperation of the temple authority to allow a degree of precautionary management and some basic survey and monitoring of crab numbers, ecology and behaviour.
The project team expects a major increase in awareness and a process that will start adaptive management of the cave habitat.
Other outcomes will be the avoidance of extinction of two Critically Endangered species through the engagement of a faith community which will serve as an excellent case study. It is hoped that there will eventually be an increase in the number of crabs in the cave.
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