‘Scrotum frog’ essential to Lake Titicaca region

SophieL

Experts say the ‘scrotum frog’ must be saved to preserve the Lake Titicaca region.

Conservationists say the ‘scrotum frog’ is essential to the South American ecosystem, between Peru and Bolivia.

  • The frog can grow up to 8 inches long and 2 pounds in weight, representing the world’ largest water frog.
  • Its green, creased skin gives the benefit of augmented oxygen intake.
  • This ‘indicator species’ is a key guide to noticing ecological health to the lake in the Andes. 
  • The region is complex and the frog is elusive, so the population is difficult to track.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature reported a decline of 80-90 percent from 1994 to 2004. According to local experts, the health of the lake has since deteriorated as well.

In 2019, the IUCN changed the frog’ status from “critically endangered” to just “endangered,” through “It is evident that the population is declining at an accelerated rate.” 

  • Inconsistent data from separate research efforts has led to overall uncertainty about the species’ current state.
  • In 2016, around 10,000 scrotum frogs died from uncertain causes, though waste mismanagement is considered as a potential factor. 
  • Threats to the species include urban wastewater, chemicals in agriculture, dams, climate change, aquafarming, novel diseases, and invasive species. 
  • Bolivia’s Natural History Museum launched a collaborative effort to save this frog, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility. Scientists from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and the US study the frog’s habitats to inform future conservation legislation. 
  • Biologists at the Denver Zoo hatched 200 tadpoles in their lab, and are now joining the coalition to save the scrotum frog. 

Read the full report.

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