Researchers rediscover the Sierra Leone crab.

Researchers+rediscover+the+Sierra+Leone+crab.

             After many many years, Researchers were able to rediscover the Sierra Leone crab. They first found it weeks earlier than previously in the year.  According to Treehuggers.com they found the crab in West Africa, which hasn’t had a confirmed sighting since 1955. It noted that the crab was  near SugarLoaf Mountain in a national park in Sierra Leone. 

The colorful Sierra Leone crab is a very unique species among the other crustaceans, their body is vibrant, with purple claws. The crab does not like to spend time in the water, though they still like to burrow in rock crevices or climb trees to live in burrows. Some live in marshes or on the forest floor. “Only a few species are known, but those that are do not disappoint because they are extremely colorful compared to their river living cousins, and climb trees, live in rock crevices, marshes, or in burrows on the forest floor all well away from permanent water. Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia are the only countries in Africa where these crabs occur, and there are only five species known, all rare.”

They found the Sierra Leone crab by going on an exposition to SugarLoaf Mountain. The Exposition was led by Pierre A. Mvogo Ndongo, a lecturer and researcher at the University of Douala in Cameroon. He traveled West Africa and interviewed the local residents in neighboring towns in search of the crab. “Mvogo Ndongo interviewed people in the community, asking them if they had ever spotted crabs in the forest that lived far away from permanent water sources’ ‘ as quoted in tree huggers.com. After three fraustering weeks, Mvogo Ndongo still kept his research strong and found and imanged new ways to spread the news about the Sierra Leone Crab. “Nevertheless, I kept my psychology strong and multiplied strategies in parfait collaboration with Neil Cumberlidge. I was frustrated only about the global pandemic that getting worse at the moment I was in Sierra Leone.” Finally after many dead ends and false leads, He found two men to lead him to a forest in  outside of Freetown where he discovered a some-what healthy population of Afzelius’s crabs (Afrithelphusa afzelii), another land-living crab that hasn’t had a documented sighting since 1796. So after the permission of the local chiefs and the park manager, he searched within the Western Area National Park in the forests on Sugar Loaf Mountain. They then started to evacuate some burrows carefully using a pick and machete so the crabs would not be harmed. After brushing the dirt off from the crabs, they then recognized a brightly colored body. And then they knew they had found the first living species of the Sierra Leone Crab since 1995. “In the four days searching the dense forests on Sugar Loaf Mountain, I was able to find six specimens of the Sierra Leone crab because I was able to recruit local people to go into the forest and search with me,” says Mvogo Ndongo. “When I found the Sierra Leone crab, I was very very happy. This was after almost three weeks of searching for lost species.

The expedition was funded by Rewild an organization that is a group of environmentalists  and leonardo dicaprio that’s mission is to protect and restore biodiversity the life on earth. The Sierra Leone crab also known by its scientific name Afrithelphusa leonensis was the eighth species on Re:wild’s 25 Most Wanted Lost Species list to be rediscovered according to treehuggers. 

The next step to helping preserve these creatures is devise a Species Action Plan detailing exactly how this will be done, and then implement prote according to Cumberlidge as the chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Freshwater Crustacean Group. 

 

Discoveries like these are important because it helps less and less animals become extinct, and it gives one more step or lead to helping the animal’s population increase. “These discoveries are important because we were thinking that both of these species might actually be extinct, because they had not been seen for many years (centuries in one case),” Cumberlidge says according to tree huggers.com.