Frog die-off ominous sign for Lake Titicaca
Peru's National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) is investigating the death of some 10,000 frogs whose bodies have been found in the Río Coata, which flows into Lake Titicaca. The alert was sounded by the local Committee Against the Pollution of the Río Coata, which accused the authorities of ignoring the river's severe pollution. Activists brought 100 of the dead frogs to the central square in the regional capital, Puno. Said protest leader Maruja Inquilla: "I've had to bring them the dead frogs. The authorities don't realize how we're living. They have no idea how major the pollution is. The situation is maddening." The committee has long been petitioning for construction of a sewage treatment plant for the river, and also for bringing informal minig camps up the river under control. Last year, arsenic, presumably from unregulated gold-mining in the area, was found to have contaminated several wells in the Coata watershed. The Puno regional health department conducted the study following a campaign by local campesino communities.
The frog, Telmatobius culeus by its Latin name, is more commonly known locally as the Titicaca water frog, gigantic Titicaca frog, or rana escroto—scotum frog, thusly named for its wrinkled skin. It is found only in Lake Titicaca, and is considered at risk of extinction. SERFOR is coordinating with Bolivian authorities to monitor the frog's condition in the lake. Titicaca, South America's largest lake, is a critical source of fresh water for the arid Altiplano region. (Omicrono, Oct. 20; PhysOrg, BBC News, Oct. 18; Inforegión, Gestión, Oct. 17; Correo, Dec. 6; La República, March 18, 2015)
See our last post on the global frog die-off.