sábado, 25 de abril de 2015

There is something wrong with the lake

Dead frog in one of the localities of Titcaca lake
Working in the lake the last years, allowed us to see some changes and events. This is the case of the dead frogs that we were finding all the time, but now we  this phenomenon is much more common, even in areas that seems to be in good conditions. Now everytime we monitor the lake we find more dead frogs.
Dead Titicaca water Frog and Titicaca grib

We are studying and tryingto understand what happens in the lake, and we found some clues that show us a synergy among different factors such as a fungal disease that arrived to the lake a couple of years ago and pollution of the water, where some areas the situation can be very bad.
Monitoring the deaths of the Titicaca water frog

Since January 2015 we were able to witness some changes in the lake, we found that one of the areas pollution is increasing, more dead frogs are found, macroinvertebrate structure is changing among others. Some time ago we found dead frogs in big numbers and all at the same time, now these last months we found the same thing but not just that, now the water is completely green, not being possible to find our traps during our dives or frogs under the water…
Now we can see in the news that more people are talking about this problem
Erbol, Los tiempos, la razon, and we hope this situation will change.

Green color of the water in all the "Lago menor", photo January 2015
All the local communities around the “Lago menor” were talking about this phenomenon, where the water turned completely green. And there are a lot of dead frogs and also no fish anymore. There is something happening in this area and we need to change things. We see now the first signals that there are problems in the lake, factors that are affecting not just to a critically endangered species, but also to local communities who are having problems to find fish that is one of their main resources.

water of one of the localities that is completely green,
photo January 2015
Nature tell us very clear that something is wrong and we need to act now, otherwise this will have a bad end, Fortunately local communities realize that this phenomenon is not normal, they want to change this situation and we think that we need to help them to understand the situation and also to try to take actions at different levels to prevent this kind of problems.

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2014

curso Anfibios de Bolivia

Santiago de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
16 al 20 de Febrero 2015

El proyecto Iniciativa Anfibios de Bolivia, Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny y Hotel Churapa Invitan al curso “Técnicas para el Inventario y Monitoreo de Anfibios Neotropicales” que se llevará a cabo del 16 al 20 de febrero en Santiago de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz.
El Curso teórico-práctico está dirigido a estudiantes de Biología, biólogos y ramas afines.
Aspectos generales de los anfibios
Declinaciones de anfibios a nivel internacional y nacional
Protocolos de bioseguridad.
Métodos de colecta y preparación de material científico
Técnicas de inventario y monitoreo de anfibios
Identificación de anfibios de Bolivia (taxonomia y sistematica)
Diseño y análisis de datos en trabajos con anfibios
Conservación de anfibios neotropicales

Lugar y duración:
El curso se desarrollará en instalaciones del Hotel Churapa, en Santiago de Chiquitos, Santa Cruz con las actividades de campo en alrededores del pueblo. El curso tendrá una duración de cinco días con asistencia de tiempo completo.
Forma de enseñanza:
El curso va ser una mezcla de teoria con practica, lo que quiere decir que todos los dias habran algunas presentaciones sobre los temas mencionados por herpetologos conocidos y en todas las noches y algunos dias habran salidas de campo para buscar anfibios y aplicar lo aprendido en la practica.

El curso tiene un costo de 700 Bs para estudiantes y 1.000 Bs para profesionales. El alojamiento y alimentación será cubierto por el curso.

Se ofrecerán en algunos casos becas parciales o totales para lo cual se deberá indicar en el formulario más una carta de solicitud.
Los interesados deberán enviar:
Formulario de aplicación bajar aqui 
Curriculum Vitae
Aplicantes que deseen una beca enviar una carta de solicitud
Los documentos deberán ser enviados hasta el 20 de enero a la siguiente dirección electrónica: 

Los resultados se darán a conocer el 31 de enero

jueves, 27 de noviembre de 2014

domingo, 16 de noviembre de 2014

Amphibian Husbandry Course Bolivia

Amphibians are declining all around the world and in some cases there are few chances for some species, and in some cases captive breeding together with other in-situ measurements can provide a hope to threatened species.

Captive breeding can provide a safe population that in the future can be reintroduced and help wild populations or to reintroduce a species where previously was present

Finding the need to work with more institutions interested in amphibian conservation and captive breeding we organized together with Amphibian Ark the Amphibian Husbandry course in our Museum in Cochabamba Bolivia.
17 researchers, conservationists and zoo keepers attended this course where they learned different aspects about amphibians, the different parameters that we need to take in account to keep amphibians in captivity such as water quality, temperature, lighting, food, biosecurity among others.

With the great experience from members of Amphibian Ark we were able to share the knowledge that we need to start thinking in a correct way to start a captive breeding program that can be designed for education, exhibition, conservation or reintroduction purposes

With this course we hope that we can start collaborating with more people and institutions for the conservation of threatened Bolivian amphibians.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

Conservation Needs Assessment of the Amphibians of Bolivia

Bolivia is a mega-diverse country holding a large percentage of the world’s biodiversity. This richness contrasts with a relatively poor understanding of its biodiversity and as in many South American countries, a lack of economical resources. Disturbingly, a number of high priority sites for amphibian conservation, even within protected areas, require immediate conservation action, and many of these areas appear to be under increasing threats from over harvesting, exotic species and habitat degradation.

The Conservation Needs Assessment for the amphibians of Bolivia brought together sixteen amphibian field biologists from around Bolivia, representing eight different museums, universities, zoos and Non-governmental organizations. The three-day assessment workshop was hosted by the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d'Orbigny in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and was facilitated by Kevin Johnson from the Amphibian Ark (AArk).

During the workshop, all 265 amphibian species found in Bolivia were assessed and prioritized for the most urgent conservation actions required to ensure their ongoing survival in the wild. These 265 species include 16 that are listed in the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, 16 Endangered, 25 Vulnerable, 5 Near Threatened, 185 Least Concern and 18 Data Deficient. Eighty-eight of the species (33%) are endemic to Bolivia, and of these 45 species are considered to be threatened.

This project was developed thanks to the support of CBOT Endangered Species Fund, Amphibian Ark, and the support of Bolivian amphinian initiative and Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d;Orbigny and Museo Nacional de Historia Natural

sábado, 16 de noviembre de 2013

A rediscovery of one critically endangered frog

Psychrophrynella illimani a critically endangered species
Psychrophrynella Illimani is one critically endangered species that is present just in Bolivia, it was found in 2002 and described in 2009 with just a couple of individuals, since 2002 were different attempts to find more individuals in the area, but it was not possible to find more individuals. In 2013 Jampatu project with Bolivian amphibian initiative together with the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny organized an strategy to try to find this species and also to try to obtain new locations and also information about natural history of this very poorly known species.
a male taking care of the offspring
For this purpose in August we went for the first time to the area to talk with local communities and to present the project, since then we were able to go back every month and now after a couple of months working in the area with a joint team we have news!
variation in coloration of the species
We found the species in the area! Not just that, we found more locations where the species is present and also we got a lot of data about the natural history of the species.

Now after some work with the species we have more data but also more questions and we plan to keep working with this joint project to try to understand and to work with local communities for the threatened amphibians of Bolivia.

P. illimani in the type locality

domingo, 20 de octubre de 2013

High Andean Amphibian Course

Activities in groups for the course

Just one week ago finished the 3rd high Andean amphibian course in Sorata, Bolivia. This was a great opportunity to join enthusiastic people working and with the desire to work with amphibians. It was a great experience where we did not just shared our knowledge together with the Jampatu project, but also it was an opportunity to talk and to start a network of people working for amphibians in different parts not just from Bolivia but also from other countries such as Peru and Argentina.
Activities outside
We had this time the support for different amphibian researchers with a lot of experience working in Bolivia, they helped us with very interesting lectures that gave the participants a wide idea of the amphibian work.
working with frogs
learning new tools for amphibian work

We also learned a lot from the people that were able to participate in this course and of course it was an experience that charged our batteries to work with amphibian conservation.

Learning about water quality
and more activities to learn about conservation work
This kind of courses we are developing once a year and we are looking forward to join more new people that want to work with amphibians.

The 3rd High Andean Amphibian Conservation course participants

lunes, 26 de agosto de 2013

field work with amphibians

Visit to the area of a critically endangered frog (Psychrophrynella illimani)
Obtaining data in different seasons is important to understand the natural history and habitat requirements of the different species of amphibians. These changes can have an important effect in amphibians, not just temperature change but also water quality during the rainy season can change a lot, structure of water bodies or presence of water also can change. 
Habitat of Psychrophrynella illimani a critically endangered frog

The strategies of the different species are also different and those things we want to study. We are already going to several sites in Bolivia to understand better these changes.

obtaining data of the habitat of one aquatic frog (Telmatobius sp.)
We found that some of the streams can change a lot in the hardness and alkalinity but some others do not change at all. In some areas one can find streams covered with ice, but tadpoles and frogs still active in the bottom of the stream. We also are starting to use some tools to understand better the species using underwater cameras, data loggers and others that provide us information that will be very useful for the future.

Tadpoles of Telmatobius sp. in one stream of the Bolivian Andes

sábado, 15 de junio de 2013

High Andean Amphibian Conservation Course 2013

Now we organize for October 2013 the High Andean Amphibian Conservation Course that will be carried out in Sorata Bolivia. for more information please visit us at: http://bolivianamphibianinitiative.org/curso

Do not forget the deadline is July 10.

lunes, 28 de enero de 2013

Problems with a critically endangered frog

A Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus) in the rocks

Once again we went back to Titicaca Lake to work, This time to monitor the critically endangered Titicaca Water frog Telmatobius culeus and to take samples of Chytridium  for the project that we are involved and to obtain data about this species. We worked with our team of students and volunteers during several days, this allowed us to obtain more data from different sites. We found some sites with very few individuals but also other with several. With this research we try to obtain data about where are the best populations in the lake.

trapping frogs in the lake to take Chytrid samples

A very shocking finding was that in some localities we found several dead individuals, in one locality we found almost 50% of the individuals dead; it was impressing to find just dead frogs and several individuals that were dying.
one of our sites with dead frogs

We would like to know what is the problem. For this reason we request the help from people, universities or laboratories that can help us with this, to try to find out the cause, to be able to act now in a correct way to avoid more problems.
more dead frogs in the lake
We hope that this is an isolated case and that the problem will not expand. We have some time, we can do things and we can try to work with this problem together.

Conservation projects together

Meeting of different projects 
To share experiences with different projects from different places of Bolivia and Peru was one of our last activities, this time with the Rufford Small Grants, our main supporter that organized a meeting of their different projects in both countries, it was a great opportunity to learn about other projects and also to learn how can we improve our work to have a better impact. Due that this meeting was carried out in Titicaca lake we took the advantage to take the group to one of our study sites and we were able to show them the work that we carry out and also one of the species we work with.
Visit of different projects to our studysite

It was also an opportunity to involve more the local community in the project and also in that way they realize that there are more conservationists working with endangered animals and that their role as local communities is very important.
Members of the different projects in Sicuani, one of our sites where we work

viernes, 21 de diciembre de 2012

more news from our offspring

tadpole of Telmatobius culeus

After a couple of days that we had the first eggs of Telmatobius culeus, now we have tadpoles. It was not so easy; everything was very nice and good until the day 6 and 7 when almost all our embryos were very well developed but we don’t know why?, but several of the tiny tadpoles that were inside of the eggs could not go out, in some cases we saw that some individuals were trying to go out but it was not successful and in other cases other small tadpoles were able to go out but they died. We are still searching the possible reasons for this, but fortunately we already have free swimming tadpoles that are doing well and they are already growing up very fast.

Tadpole of Telmatobius culeus
It is a great opportunity to learn more about this species and also to get more information that can be useful for the future not just for us but also for other institutions that want to work with this species.
size of a tadpole of Telmatobius culeus (one week after)
It seems that the good news are coming  together because a couple of days before we had another species of Telmatobius having eggs, this time from the south of Bolivia that probably is a new species for Bolivia or to science. Now we have also some tadpoles from this new species and with this we increase at four the species that we are able to breed in our captive breeding facilities.

another species of Telmatobius with a new offspring

These events are giving us a lot of information and also hope for these species and also if we are able to find some species that we are not finding anymore, we think we are going to be able to give them a chance to exist in this world.

viernes, 14 de diciembre de 2012

Great news about captive breeding

Amplexus of one couple of Telmatobius culeus

Now coming back with some good news, this time from our captive breeding component; after some success breeding different species of Telmatobius we decided to try to breed our individuals of the critically endangered Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus). After some time learning how to keep them, working with the water quality of their aquariums that are very special due the water of the lake and also after treat the frogs for Chytrid, we decided to put together our male frogs with the females.
Amplexus of another couple of Telmatobius culeus

Was very interesting to see how they reacted and to see that they were more than ready to try to breed, the first couple of days we saw different amplexus where males hold females to try to breed.

taking notes about the process

About one week later we had some news, eggs in the aquarium! First time we try and we did it! Now to see if the eggs were ok, but just a couple of days waiting and with our first photos we found that they were developing… we saw that they took more time that our other species but they were doing well, now after some days, they are already leaving their eggs and finally we have our first tadpoles of the critically endangered Titicaca water frog.
embrios of Telmatobius culeus

This is a hope for us, telling us that the different species that are under a high risk to disappear can have an opportunity, we just need to work together.

Development of the eggs of Telmatobius culeus

lunes, 10 de diciembre de 2012

Is Chytrid in these localities?

The second part of fieldwork in Bolivia was very interesting, we found some new populations of the threatened amphibians of the genus Telmatobius, also we visited other localities that we use to monitor some populations.

A tree frog in one stream in Potosi department
We found a big change in water quality between different seasons of some streams that seem to change in the dry season and in the wet season.
In one of the localities we did not find adult frogs, just two tadpoles but also for our surprise we found two dead juvenile frogs of Telmatobius simonsi in the same stream and not so far one from each other. It was strange to see this in this stream were before we never found dead frogs. We collected all the samples and we want to analyze those samples to know what it is really happening in this area, because if Chytrid did arrive to this area, we would need to do something urgently.
One of the dead Telmatobius frogs that we found in the area

 We really hope that these populations that are present in dry and high areas that seem to be ok will not have the same pattern of declination like species from mountain cloud forests that are not anymore present.
Collecting samples of dead individuals