Peruvian authorities are currently investigating the deaths of around 10,000 Titicaca frogs in the Puno southern state.
After environmental activists had taken 100 dead water frogs to the Puno’s central plaza, officials became aware of this problem and decided to take action. Then, the Peruvian forestry service, called Serfor, announced that around 10,000 frogs might have been killed in an area of about 30 miles of a river. Also, this river is a tributary of the Lake Titicaca.
According to Maruja Inquilla, one of the environmental activists in charge of the investigation, the authorities are completely unaware of the pollution level, and that is why the team had to show everyone the dead frogs.
Inquilla further adds that things will get worse if nothing is done to address this problem. While the agency collected samples from 500 death frogs, the activists saw how seagulls were feasting on the frogs and immediately noticed the sewage in the river.
Therefore, they took some samples to test the level of pollution in the water. It is worth mentioning that in October 2015, Inquilla accused the district mayor of Coata of supporting a sewage plant from the Juliaca city.
This plant led to a massive contamination, making the water most likely inhospitable for Titicaca frogs and other animals. Based on the Red List of IUCN, the Titicaca frog is regarded as critically endangered because it suffered a staggering 80 percent population decline over the past three generations.
Such a massive negative impact is caused by invasive species, habitat degradation, and over-exploitation. In other words, human excess has brought these amphibians on the verge of extinction.
This species weighs over two pounds and has many skin folds. This unusual appearance has brought this giant amphibian the ‘scrotum frog’ nickname. Over the last twenty years, experts say that the frog population has been devastated by the exotic trout which feed on the frog’s tadpoles, the reduction of the species’ natural habitat, and over-harvesting.
However, the main cause lies in the pollution level caused by sewage runoff which is constantly discharged by the Juliaca plant.
This pollution contaminates the water and reduces the oxygen, creating dead zones where Titicaca frogs and other lake animals cannot survive. The samples will be analyzed, while the authorities and environmental activists continue their investigation.
Image Source: Livt