Taiwan’s Kenting National Park is home to at least 30 different species of land crab. Peak spawning season is between July and November, when countless female crabs crawl to the coastal part of the park, at the very southern tip of the island nation. Unfortunately, all those crabs must negotiate road-crossings, such as Provincial Highway 26, which get super busy with holiday traffic on weekends. Now, the park administration is doing its best to protect the migrating would-be momma crabs, erecting signs urging motorists to brake for the crabs and even closing parts of the highway.
A 2000-foot stretch of highway passing lanes were closed for two hours on three days in September, and will close again from October 22-24. Park administration officials are also doubling as crab escorts; picking up the crabs and carry them safely across to the coastal side of the highway.
According to the park’s website, millions of tourists from Taiwan and abroad visit the country’s first national park each year, and enjoy the “dazzling bright sunshine, azure blue seawater, clean shining sand beach… rich landscape of hills and water, abundant life, and natural resources for everyone’s enjoyment.” While it’s easy to imagine drivers to be none too pleased with having to wait at crab crossings, the park is trying to sell the delays as a unique experience. “Drivers are welcome to stop and step out of their cars and have a special rendezvous with the crabs,” said the park’s statement.
The Taipei Times provides these cool Kenting land crab facts:
The coastal forest of Shiangchiaowan is home to at least 24 species of land crab, making it the most diverse known habitat in the world for the creatures, while the estuary of the Gangkou River (港口溪), the area between Sihzikou (溪仔口) and Choufongbi (出風鼻), and Houwan (後灣), also within the park’s environs, are likewise crab hotspots.
Image: Taipei Times