Frogs are under several threats, like habitat damage, invasive species, and overharvestation. Frogs are harvested by people for food, medecine, and spiritual reasons; the Lake Titicaaca frog is no exception. We wanted to witness the trade in frog juice; to do this, we had to cross the border to the small town on the Peruvian side of the lake, where we saw how people prepare this special mix of several ingredients: soup of frogs, sugar, chicken eggs, brewer's yeast, honey, maca, and a raw frog. These ingredients are mixed in a blender and then offered to the local people as a restoritive drink.
Some of the women that buy the juice told us that they drink one or two cups of the juice every week for eye problems, for brain enhancement, and any other heath problems. People selling this juice claim that it offers a “cure” for almost everything, even unknown diseases. Previous studies found that these juices can contain nematodes and salmonella, among other things.
One of the problems of this situation is that a lot of frogs are captured for this activity, even though this species is critically endangered. One frog seller told us that he collects about 500 to 1000 frogs every 15 days. Given that there are a lot of people selling the juice, you can calculate more or less how many frogs are collected every month or year.
Like we saw before, this activity is starting to enter Bolivia. In El Alto city and Cochabamba, you can see people offering the “cure,” while exploiting these frogs. It is necessary to start doing something to avoid this situation in Bolivia and to protect our species.