Our last time in Titicaca lake we went with Patricia and Teresa our two herpetologist colleagues that were a great support for our work and they enjoyed the snorkel in the lake looking for the Titicaca lake frog Telmatobius culeus. Unfortunately this time our team from the local community could not join us in the snorkel but they were always supporting us from the boat next to us.
This time we did several diurnal and nocturnal transects, good news and bad news…
First day in one diurnal transect we found several individuals in the lake, and some of them in amplexus, that means that they are breeding this season, unfortunately we could not find the eggs, probably we need to look for more carefully. During the night was very cold but also very interesting because we found several individuals and a big female that was the biggest one that I saw until now. Also we found very interesting data that we will publish soon in some scientific papers.
The second day it was amazing one day with several impressions, first the unbelievable landscape and underwater view, but followed by alarming findings that pushed down our happiness. Our first individual we found in that transect was a juvenile, after some pictures we realized that was dead in the bottom of the lake, we collected this one, second individual, also a dead one, but this time bigger, third one also a big dead frog almost decomposed. After about 50 minutes we found 18 dead frogs of different size, decomposing states and just four frogs that were ok, some of our last individuals that we found I thought it was a dead individual because like you can see in the picture the left leg it was with a very big open wound where you can see the bone of the toes. We collected this individual and it seems that is not a mechanical wound seems to be something that is eating the skin and flesh from outside, we also found a lot of leeches in the body that we took out, we wanted to take alive this individual but unfortunately this individual died.
After those days in the lake, now we come back to the city with a lot questions and worried about the situation, because we never saw that number of dead animals, maximum we found before were 5, but also can be that now we are using a different method or just it is the decomposition time in the area is very long, but also if this is the situation, to find to many individuals like we found means that something is happening there, what it is?? We don’t know yet, we don't want to give answers yet, but we need to do more research and for that we will need more support from people and institutions, we are very enthusiastic because more people are in our team and with Patricia and Teresa working with us is a big difference that will improve the work.
We also hope that soon we will publish our findings that can be available to more people and we will keep updating this blog and soon the new website of the project.
Also the big support from the local community that always is supporting us and now we are planning several things with them to protect the species and also to give them and option to improve their live quality protecting the species.
Thank you very much.