martes, 21 de diciembre de 2010

Titicaca water frog conservation workshop

The Titicaca water frog is one species that is critically endangered, the populations size is decreasing based in some studies and it is needed immediate actions to protect this species. One big step was the workshop to establish the strategy for the conservation of Titicaca wat

er frog (Telmatobius culeus) organized by the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano, Denver Zoo

and the SSC/UICN/CBSG Mesoamerica.

This workshop was a big step for the conser

vation of the frog and joined several researchers, conservationist and different stakeholders. One interesting aspect was that this workshop involved people from Peru and Bolivia so we can join efforts to protect the species and the habitat where this unique species is present. We participated in this meeting sharing all the experiences we had with the species in research, education, capacity building and captive breeding of Telmatobius culeus, another important output was the contacts we obtained with different people and institutions that worked or are working with the species. After all this process we are developing our next steps to work with the species not isolated but working with other partners so we provide better results and

impacts for the conservation of the species.

After this activity we also went to the field to find some in

dividuals in the wild and it was interesting to find different individuals just after some minutes swimming in the lake, the same situation like the Bolivian side of the lake.

Being present in this meeting was very useful for us because helped us to see that we are not alone in this work and that we can work together with more people and try to protect the

amphibian biodiversity and their endangered species.

viernes, 10 de diciembre de 2010

New Container for our frogs

This time with very good news, thanks to the support of some institutions like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rufford Small Grants, The NAJU (Naturschutzjugend), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Amphibian Ark.

Recently we obtained a new container that will be used to hold the endangered species of Telmatobius of Bolivia, holding different species and all of them in the red list of the IUCN.

This new container needs some work but once this is ready, it will really make a difference in our work. Until now we had the first offspring of Telmatobius hintoni, now we want to start with Telmatobius culeus and with the container will allow us to keep them in better conditions and with more options to soon have an offspring.

lunes, 29 de noviembre de 2010

A hope for Bolivian amphibians in captivity

Amphibian conservation in Bolivia is just in the beginning, almost nothing has been done. Even in some cases there is no information about the species, natural history, habitat requirements and reprod

uction among others. There are some cases

where amphibian species don’t have en

ough time because the different threats like habitat loss, pollution or recently the Chytrid fungus, a disease that is eliminating different population in several places in the world. One strategy that we are

developing besides the resear

ch, capacity building and environmental in-situ education is the captive breeding component, with this work we want to learn as much as possible about some endangered species of Bolivian amphibians mainly focused in the aquatic frogs of the genus Telmatobius which all their species are in the red list of endangered species of the IUCN.

Since a couple of years we are working with some species of Telmatobius that we captured in larvae stages and after keeping them in captivity now

we have several adult individuals that are already breeding and at this stage we have several tadpoles and some young frogs that are the first decedents in captivity.

After this step we are very enthusiastic and now we are going to try to work with other species and also try to breed the species that we have in captivity like Telmatobius culeus, now with our new facility that we are building that will allow us to have a better control of different aspects and now we think we will be able to breed this critically endangered species.
for more information about this:

The facility holding some species of Telmatobius
Observations and work with the frogs

martes, 7 de septiembre de 2010

Amphibian course in Tarija

To work with other people, institutions and partners will help to save amphibians in Bolivia; it is very difficult to do the work alone. This is the reason that we are trying to train people in different areas of Bolivia.

teaching the park-guard to take chytrid samples

This time we organized an amphibian course in the distant department of Tarija where park-guards and some workers from conservation and education NGO were present in the course.
The course had a theoretical and practical part in the field

It was very interesting how they were very interested in all the information about the amphibians and during the fieldwork practice everybody was very curious to see and to know more closely those animals that normally they just know as a “slimy thing”. They even didn’t know that were endangered species. Now after this course was they learned basic aspects about amphibians, how to work with them and how to monitor we will start a monitoring program that will provide very important data about those populations.
teaching how to clean the equipment to avoid contamination

One important thing is that also they realized of the threat of the Chytrid fungus and they are going to try to monitor if this disease arrive to the area with our support, because they said “we want to have these frogs in or reserve, we want to protect them”

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.