Scientists study threats to Maltese freshwater crab’s rare habitat

Three-year Qabru project by Nature Trusts will identity threats faced by rare habitats which freshwater crab risks losing

An adult Qabru (Photo: Ray Caruana)
An adult Qabru (Photo: Ray Caruana)

Nature Trust is embarking on a challenging project to study the breeding behaviour of the freshwater crab (Qabru) on the Maltese Islands.

The three-year project aims at improving the population of the species and its habitat.

The project is supported with €40,000 from the HSBC Malta Foundation.

The project has recreated the habitat of the freshwater crab in a lab at the Aquaculture Centre in Marsaxlokk. A number of recently born crabs were placed in this lab habitat under 24 hours monitoring, to study and observe their behaviour and breeding.

The project will also assess the natural habitats of these crabs to identify treats and problems these habitats may be facing that may cause the disappearance of the animal.

With the help of Environment Authorities, NTM will also try to mitigate these problems and address issues for the improvement of these freshwater habitats that are rare but important in the Maltese Islands.

“It is the duty of Nature Trust to contribute to halting biodiversity loss and habitat loss in our Islands,” Nature Trust – FEE Malta Executive President Vincent Attard said.

“As an NGO, we have been working with the authorities to find best solutions to improve the situation where needed and also conserve our natural heritage for future generations to inherit.  We want the public to understand the treasure what we have on our Island and also improve for the common good of the economy, society and the environment. A big thanks goes to HSBC for believing in this vision and also the Aquaculture Research Centre for their full support.”

Simon Vaughan Johnson, HSBC Malta CEO said, “HSBC Malta Foundation plays a very active role in our community and over the years has invested millions of euros and provided thousands of voluntary hours to many education, heritage and environmental projects.  We are proud to be renewing our Foundation’s support for Nature Trust Malta who are setting out to save the Maltese freshwater crab.”