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!0,000 Titicaca Water Frogs Die in Peru And Nobody Knows Why

October 18, 2016



The Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus), a critically endangered species from Peru that is often ground up into a drink for human consumption, has suffered massive losses in Peru’s River Coata as an estimated 10,000 frogs have recently perished. Initial reports are blaming pollution in the river amid pleas from environmental groups imploring the government to construct a sewage treatment facility in the area. 

According to the BBC, The Committee Against the Pollution of the Coata River, the government has not addressed what it sees as a serious pollution problem in the area around Lake Titicaca, a problem os severe that the endangered frog, known for its large body and massive folds of skin that help it breathe in high altitudes have been dying in huge numbers. 

titicaca water frog

Joshua Stone/Wikipedia

A juvenile Titicaca water frog.

The government has reportedly taken water samples of the area where the frogs have died, an area that spans over 30 miles from the Cacachi bridge past the town of Juliaca where it ends at the mouth of Lake Titicaca. Those samples along with dead specimens will be examined by Roberto Elias and Enrique Ramos of the Denver Zoo to determine the cause of death. 

The Titicaca water frog has a snout to ben length between 3,0 to 5.4 inches in length with very large specimens reported to weigh up to 2.2 pounds. It is also known as the scrotum frog due to its large folds of skin. It faces a range of issues, including over collection for human consumption, predation of its tadpoles by introduced fish and could be threatened by the chytrid fungus.

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