By Eliana Lizarraga Heredia, Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbginy

In a coordinated effort, the Governments of Bolivia and Peru, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), have constituted a transnational team for the conservation of the emblematic Titicaca Water Frog (Telmatobius culeus).

The working group is made up of institutions from various countries including ASA partner Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny, and others such as Fundación para as Ciencias, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Denver Zoo, Natural Way-Peru, and Museo de Zoología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. With the vision of a long-term survival for the species, these institutions will work together to fill in the gaps in the knowledge about this emblematic frog.

The research efforts include two studies within the framework of the project “Gestión Integrada de los Recursos Hídricos en el sistema Titicaca-Desaguadero-Poopó-Salar de Coipasa (GIRH TDPS)”. The first is oriented towards the characterization of the underwater habitat types used by T. culeus and the identification of the threats to these habitats in order to prioritize conservation areas. The second study is aimed at evaluating the population status of the Titicaca Giant Frog using snorkel transect techniques.

The results obtained will provide relevant ecological information on the species for Peru and Bolivia, countries that share the ecosystem of Lake Titicaca, where T. culeus occur. This will allow researchers to understand the reality of the species and its state in the face of high pressures from natural and anthropic factors. In the same way, the information generated will be used to make decisions and take future joint conservation actions, which will ensure the continuity of the species over time. This transnational collaboration is a great achievement that shows the complete union of efforts by several institutions with the same goal: to promote the conservation of the Titicaca Water Frog!

Photo © Joel Sartore