Scientists join forces to save the endangered Titicaca lake, which is unfortunately known as the "scrotum frog".
The frog Telmatobius culeus, which is unmistakable with its sack-like skin folds, lives in Lake Titicaca, which lies on the border between Peru and Bolivia.
Due to over harvesting for human consumption, habitat destruction and climate change, it is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as “Endangered”.
It is also threatened by the introduction of exotic species such as trout that feed on tadpoles, and is even crushed into a drink as an alleged aphrodisiac for humans.
The scrotum frog is the largest fully aquatic frog in the world, but its population decreased by 80 percent from 1994 to 2004, according to the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN).
The frog Telmatobius culeus, which is unmistakable with its shaggy skin folds, lives in Lake Titicaca on the border between Peru and Bolivia
Since then, the population in some parts of the lake has dropped to up to 90 percent, reports CNN.
In coordinated efforts, the governments of Bolivia and Peru, with the support of the United Nations, have formed a cross-border conservation team to protect the species.
This team consists of institutions from different countries such as the Bolivian Natural History Museum, the Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia, the Denver Zoo, Natural Way-Peru and the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador.
The institutions will "close the information gaps that result from the knowledge of this emblematic frog," said the Natural History Museum of Bolivia.
The service will provide relevant ecological information on Telmatobius culeus for Peru and Bolivia and raise awareness of the natural and human factors to which the species is exposed.
All information generated is used for decision making and future conservation measures that ensure the survival of the species.
The researchers will study the frogs' underwater habitats, assess population status, and examine the genetics of the species.
The Titicaca Edible Frog is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as “Endangered”
This unique species is endemic to Lake Titicaca and is located at an altitude of 3,810 meters between Bolivia and Peru.
The frog's many skin folds help them breathe in their high-lying habitat in the Andes, more than 12,500 feet above sea level.
The snout up to the back length of the titicaca water frog is up to 20 cm, so that they have a similar diameter as a plate.
According to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), however, the species is the main component of frog juice, a popular aphrodisiac that actually doesn't gain anything by adding frogs.
In addition to the extraction of sea water, pollution and imported trout, the high demand has also caused the species to be critically endangered in recent decades, according to WAZA.
Thousands of large, wrinkled green frogs were found swimming on the surface of the Coata River in southern Peru in 2016
In 2016 wOfficials from ildlife in Peru investigated the mass deaths of thousands of rare frogs near the Bolivian border.
Locals estimated that 10,000 Titicaca water frogs were found in Lake Titicaca and its adjacent rivers.
"Based on local residents' statements and samples taken in the days after the incident, it is believed that more than 10,000 frogs over 50 kilometers (30 miles) were affected," said the Peruvian National Forestry and Wildlife Service at the time an explanation.
THE ENDANGERED SCROTUM FROG
The IUCN lists the animals as critically endangered.
In recent years, the population has been submerged in the nose due to the loss of habitat and invasive species in the region.
The adult frogs are also caught by locals for food and medicine, and their young are eaten by fish.
In 2013, she finished second in the British Ugly Animal Preservation Society's “The Ugliest Animal In The World” competition.
Water frogs from Lake Titicaca can be easily recognized by the permanent, loose, fibrous and glandular skin folds that hang on the sides, back and hind legs.
Credit: IUCN / Animal Diversity Web
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