lunes, 7 de junio de 2010

The week of the frog and the new exhibition

One of our objectives in the project is to increase the awareness about amphibian situation at global and Bolivian level. For this reason we organized the amphibian exhibition in the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny, with information about amphibians, games and an exhibition with the species that we are working. Also we are setting up the captive breeding facility where we are working with the endangered species of frogs of the genus Telmatobius.

For this we prepared our exhibitions and the educational material and the terrariums and aquariums, for this we had the help of Dirk, with him we made an terrarium where we can show amphibians from rainforest this work took us a couple of weeks but the results were very good, we also worked with the aquarium to keep the Critically endangered Titicaca frog. With this exhibition we want to show people about amphibians that are very unknown in the public and also showing the work we are doing to protect those species.

During this week several school children visited the exhibition and got involved in the different activities related with amphibians like games, displays and talks. There were also some local communities that with the project visited the museum to see and learn about conservation and research that the museum and the project is developing so in this way we can have their support. It was very interesting that now those communities are more enthusiastic to participate in different ways to support the conservation of Bolivian amphibians at local level.

This exhibition will be open in the museum all the time and we also plan to develop an itinerant exhibition that can travel to different places of Bolivia, so the people can realize more about amphibians and the high diversity that Bolivia holds and about the work of the project and other researchers.

Diving in Titicaca Lake

Now we went back to Titicaca Lake to our localities, but this time we went with our new diving equipment. This was a great experience, it was different than snorkel, of course more difficult with all the weight of the equipment and the altitude, but once in the water it was amazing, the very clear water allowed us to see more deeper and different habitats in the area. We found several individuals of Titicaca frog and not just adults, also tadpoles and juveniles; it was very interesting to see the patterns of habitat use and to study more closely the species and also behavior that previously was difficult to see.
We also had the contact with the Bolivian Army (Centro de Instruccion de Buceo en Altura CIBA) that supported us with some weight and air that we used for our thanks. After a meeting they showed the support for the project and they are interested to work in the future in the monitoring and education activities in the lake.
In this occasion we did not find many dead frogs, we don’t know yet the reason but also the numbers of individual that we found are different, possible because the different season that we are working now and possible the species are moving to different areas of the lake. This information will be obtained in the following diving work.

Teaching a local guy to use a digital camera that will be used by him to take pictures and data of the frogs that they are catching every day, thanks to a donnor.

jueves, 3 de junio de 2010

An interesting and very enthusiastic group of young guides

After our return we went back to the field, this time we worked with a team of touristic guides in the border of Carrasco National Park. It was amazing how this group is working and specially one of them, German that by himself is taking pictures of the animals and plants of the area and just with a small camera taking really interesting and beautiful photos. We went to this area because we want to support this group and we were working for some days teaching them about amphibians and the working with them.

For this time we were with a Biologist a Belgium friend, Dirk that was helping us with the fieldwork and also with photography. Now after this trip we are planning with German to develop a fieldguide of the amphibians of the area. 

In a second opportunity weeks later we had the opportunity to go back again to still taking some other pictures of other species, this time with German and our friend Jelena that supported us in fieldwork.  This time we obtained some other pictures and data for the fieldguide and the project.

Due the interest of them in amphibians we want to develop a training workshop in this area with other biology students and parkguards of different protected areas of Bolivia, because we want to start one area of monitoring amphibians in this region and the people here are very interested to support this initiative.

The species that we found in this area are very interesting because it is a conjunction of Andean and Amazonian species in the same area; we also found some endangered species that are interesting to monitor. So we think that in the near future we will be working very closely with this group of very enthusiastic people for the conservation of the Bolivian amphibians.

Finding new partners and support

This time there were several new things, we had the opportunity to have some talks and presentations in different groups and institutions in Europe and we showed our work in amphibian conservation in Bolivia. It was very good because we had several new contacts that are interested to do research and conservation in Bolivia. This is a great opportunity because there are very few studies and work in amphibian conservation in Bolivia. Possibly the following months and years there will be some researchers and people that will come to Bolivia to do some work. 

Also there are some conservation institutions that in some way want to support our work and we really thanks this help that will allow us to develop in better way the activities.

We want to thank different people that is supporting this project Anton Christiaens, Petra Sigrist Family Plaetinck, Raoul Van Damme, Kennet Lundin and Dirk Ercken, and special thanks to Natuurpunt Gent, The Gothenburg Museum of Natural History, Nordens Ark for the support and the time during our visit and also for all the information they provided us.