One of nature’s most awe-inspiring events is now underway on Christmas Island, captivating the imaginations of wildlife enthusiasts worldwide. The annual red crab migration, a remarkable spectacle orchestrated by celestial, tidal and meteorological forces, has commenced, offering a breathtaking display of natural wonder.
Located 1500 km from the Australian mainland in the Indian Ocean Territories, Christmas Island is renowned for hosting this extraordinary phenomenon. The island’s rainforests come alive as tens of millions of red crabs embark on a journey from the forest to the coast for their annual mating and spawning ritual. This spectacular migration this year is set against the backdrop of a delayed wet season, attributed to El Niño weather patterns, resulting in limited rainfall this year.
Despite the sporadic nature of this year’s event, locals and visitors are enthralled to witness the iconic “great scarlet curtain” of red crabs, a description immortalised by world-renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Attenborough, who considered filming the migration among his top 10 TV moments, marvelled at the crabs moving down cliffs and rocks towards the sea.
Each year the migration begins with the first rains of the wet season. The spawning event this year is anticipated around the 4th of February. During this second phase of the migration, each female red crab is expected to release up to 100,000 eggs into the Indian Ocean. Approximately one month later, baby red crabs hopefully return to the shore, initiating their journey back into the tropical forests of Christmas Island.
“The red crab migration is a testament to the incredible natural attractions of Christmas Island. It’s a sight that has drawn visitors from every corner of the globe, and its incredible to see the Christmas Island community and visitors focused on ensuring the protection of this ecological marvel,” said David Mulheron, owner of Freedive CI and Chair of the Christmas Island Tourism Association.
“Though the migration is the main stage event, the island’s famed red crabs can be seen year-round. This globally renowned event not only spotlights the island’s wildlife offerings but also serves as a testament to the marvels of the natural world here,” he continued.
“Visitors have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a variety of natural wonders above and below the surface, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts. We warmly invite the world to discover and be captivated by Christmas Island’s one of a kind, natural charm. It’s a destination that is truly unforgettable.”
Witnessing this incredible migration is a unique experience on Christmas Island. For more information and to plan your visit, please contact Christmas Island Visitor Centre CITA@christmas.net.au or visit www.christmas.net.au.
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