jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011

Bolivian Amphibian Initiative working with local communities

Local communities are very important to work in conservation, to try to involve them from the beginning and to make them part of the decisions is very important aspect. This is the thing that Bolivian amphibian Initiative is trying from the beginning and this is the case of two localities in Titicaca Lake.




In Sicuani in the amphibian course with the involvement of the community




Sicuani a small community located between Copacabana and Isla del Sol in Titicaca, we are working with them since a couple of years obtaining information about the species, habitat and training some members of the community. This community is very interested to work in tourism and we are exploring some possible ways to work in the area with ecotourism and specific tours that normally are not offered in the area.


Nelzon one young of Sicuani working with us


Sawiña is another small town close to Copacabana, very interested to work in ecotourism and they already have some facilities and also a tour very linked with the frog of the lake. We are supporting them with this initiative and we are organizing training workshops, educational material that they can use for their activities so we together can work for the conservation of this critically endangered species.
Rodrigo and the kayra Uta (house of the frog) the touristic offer of Sawina


Rodrigo showing us the kayra uta and the animals we can see in the lake
With this joint effort with local communities we want to ensure the long lasting conservation attitudes of the people. This change of attitudes of local communities will allow us to have better impact in the conservation activities we want to carry out to protect the endangered species of the different areas.
Calendar that will be distributed in the different communities in the lake
"The titicaca water frog is just in the lake, help us to protect it"

jueves, 1 de diciembre de 2011

Working together for one species


Telmatobius culeus (critically endangered)
The conservation of one species normally requires a lot of effort and a team work, this is the case of Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus) a critically endangered species. The lake is very big and there is very few information about this species even there is some research done.

going in to the lake with the peruvian team (photo:Raul Berenguel)

This is the reason that since last year we are coordinating our conservation work with the Peruvian project coordinated by Denver Zoo, Universidad Nacional del Altiplano Puno, Peru, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia Lima, Peru. This time we met again in the Peruvian side to plan our next steps in the conservation of this critically endangered frog working in research, captive breeding and education. It was nice feeling that our work of these years provided data that was useful to suggest the next steps of this initiative and now we can start a joint effort to understand better this frog and to be able to do conservation.
Showing the team the methods we use in Bolivia (photo:Raul Berenguel)

This time we were showing and explaining how the work is carried out in Bolivia and explaining the Peruvian team, the methods we use the advantages and disadvantages of these methods. With this we want to use the same methods and to coordinate the work in both countries that are interested to save one species. 

The Peruvian team and us (Denver Zoo, Universidad Nacional del Altiplano Puno, Universidad Cayetano Heredia and Bolivian Amphibian Initiative) 

domingo, 23 de octubre de 2011

Working with a model species

Sometimes to learn and to work with endangered species is risky, this is the reason that sometimes we preffer to work with model species, species that are not so threatened and more common. This is the reason that we took Telmatobius hintoni a frog that is relatively common in the city of Cochabamba, we are working with this species to find good methods to understand better the biology, behavior, reproduction and to learn how we can protect one threatened species in the future with better methods.
monithoring a population of Telmatobius hintoni


We are testing survey methods, estimating population size and biology among others, our student Ramiro is supporting us with this work and until now we found interesting things, some things that can be used with other species and others that don’t work. Also we want to improve our diets in the tadpoles of this species in captivity and finding some ways to work with different individuals and their development in captivity compared with individuals in the wild.
Using natural pattern dessign to identify our individuals
Marking tadpoles for studies

Once we know about different methods we can use it in this aquatic species that lives in streams, so we will be able to use all this knowledge to apply in the other 13 threatened species of Telmatobius that are present in Bolivia. We have been using this way to work with model species  in our captive breeding component and with good results and now we already have adult offspring of this species and in the near future of the other species we are working with.


Working with tadpoles and froglets in the  lab
One of our objectives is to obtain all this information and to make it accessible for the conservationists. This will be our next step, because we need more people with that knowledge and with the tools to work in amphibian conservation.

New members in the team

This last time we had changes in the Project, positive changes, and new people with a lot of enthusiasm and with the desire to work in research and amphibian conservation in Bolivia.

Oliver Quinteros, biologist with experience in taxonomy that will support us in the research component and with the amphibian collection work that the museum holds that will allow us to work with the new records of amphibians for Bolivia and even new species to science. This work will help us to know better our species and to understand them.

Ramiro Estrada, a student of biology that wants to carry out a study with Telmatobius hintoni (Vulnerable) with potential and desire to work with amphibians and support the Bolivian Amphibian Initiative.

Consuelo Morales, an enthusiast and promising student of biology, interested to work in conservation, recently involved in the Bolivian amphibian initiative after the high Andean amphibian conservation course. She wants to develop a study in the high lands of one are of Cochabamba with amphibian populations that are threatened and to see the impacts of some human activities in these species, Consuelo now is supporting the project.

Andrea Fuentes, student of environmental engineer, at this moment she is carrying out a internship with the project supporting us in several components like captive breeding, education and general aspects of the project, with a lot of potential and energy in the activities. Her work will help us to improve some aspects in the project and will train her to manage conservation projects.


Our new members join the team with Patricia and Nelzon, open for us the option to carry out more tasks, improve the work we are carrying out and bring us new energy for the amphibian conservation work in Bolivia, at the same way like Bolivian Amphibian Initiative we want to support to the people interested to work in conservation.
more information about our team http://bolivianamphibianinitiative.org/OurTeam


jueves, 20 de octubre de 2011

Improving our work in captive breeding


working with our frogs marking them to have better control

Due to past training experiences we came back with the objective to improve several of our activities within the project. This is the case of the captive breeding work, which we saw that several aspects could be improved.
In this sense, now we are working better with our captive frogs, in some cases treating them to improve their conditions to have better results. Aspects like nutrition, calcium balance, water quality, UV radiation and some environmental changes among others are reflecting better conditions of our frogs, aspect very important in the conservation work we want to develop.
A new model of Titicaca water frog in our exhibition
thanks to the Swedish exhibition project "Con Otros Ojos" 
Also we are improving our biosecurity levels that will allow us to have a better management and control of possible diseases of wild and captive amphibians.


Improving our biosecurity levels in the container
Improvements in our work can have a big impact in the captive amphibians we are holding and this thanks to the people and institutions like Durrell that is supporting us in this process of amphibian conservation. All these experiences we want to share with other countries that are working or want to work in captive breeding projects with Telmatobius; in this way to work faster with the species that need our help.
Working with live food
Team working in the facilities

sábado, 17 de septiembre de 2011

High Andean Amphibian Conservation Course



High Andean Amphibian conservation course Titicaca 2011


Capacity building is a key component to make changes; it is a way to provide the information, the skills and the desire to work for a goal. One of the aims/ goals of the Bolivian amphibian Initiative are to train young biologists, students and veterinarians also involving park-rangers and local communities. In this case we organized the Course of Conservation of High Andean Amphibians, in Titicaca Lake for one week; there were 20 students from different areas of Bolivia and also some participants from Peru and Brazil.


practical activites about conservation



It was a great experience, to meet young people with a lot of ideas and enthusiasm to work with amphibians. Also was a refreshing period, where everybody shared their work and learned various aspects about amphibians. 

water test practice
Water test practice



They acquired some tools for conservation, like education, planning, fundraising, captive breeding and fieldwork techniques. These tools provided a general view about conservation and how they can use in the real life and their work with amphibians in Latin America.

fieldwork and biosecurity

We also had the support from some specialists working with High Andean amphibians in Bolivia that provided valuable information and experience, where the participants were able to see real cases in amphibian work.
We learned a lot from their experiences and due to organizing this course and thanks to the suggestions of the participants we want to improve our work and the next courses we are planning to organize.

In search of Telmatobius
In search of the frogs



Post mortem practice

It was also a good opportunity to bring together people that are working with amphibians in various subjects in different areas. Now this people will be able to work together, share information  and with the support of Bolivian Amphibian Initiative we want to start a network of young biologists working in different amphibian projects and as Bolivian amphibian Initiative  www.bolivianamphibianinitiative.org we will support their work.

learning about frogs playing

Origami with frogs

sábado, 30 de julio de 2011

Amphibian Husbandry Course in Argentina

Amphibian Husbandry course participants

Information and capacity building are some of the needs in countries of South America, in this way to work more efficiently in conservation. Is for this reason that Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust www.durrell.org with Amphibian Ark www.amphibianark.org, ALPZA, TEMAIKÉN and Universidad Nacional de Jujuy organized the course “Manejo y conservación de anfibios en cautiverio” (Amphibian husbandry Course) in Buenos Aires Argentina.
Exercise with different options for UV lights 

UV light reading out in the sun


In this occasion we collaborated in the course with the experience of the Bolivian amphibian Initiative www.bolivianamphibianinitiative.org with the work we carry out and with the tools are available in a country like Bolivia, showing options, limitations, success and failures working with amphibians. We also were able to share the knowledge acquired these last months in the Conservation Training internship at Durrell.
water quality test options

Water quality test exercise
This course took several subjects about amphibian conservation with a main focus in captive breeding. It provided information, experiences about the captive breeding work, with aspects like amphibian care (temperature, water quality, nutrition, enclosure design and others), diseases, biosecurity and amphibian population management among others.
Marking techniques exercise
The participants developed ex-situ plans for five Latin-American species of amphibians. This also was a great opportunity to gather people working with amphibians, not just conservationist also other areas that working together can improve the conservation work with endangered amphibians.

Post mortem exercise
After this course several participants went back to their countries with a lot new ideas and plans to organize or improve their amphibian conservation projects. Also with the new contacts that now we know and that we can work together with the goal to try to save species from extinction.
Creating our enclosure exercise 1
Creating our enclosure exercise 2

Creating our enclosure exercise 3

jueves, 21 de julio de 2011

Conservation Internship at Durrell 2011

The Herpetology department at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust



Due to the work that we are carrying out in Bolivia the International Training Centre of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust ( www.durrell.org ), along with other biologists throughout South America such as those we met at the Amphibian conservation Course in Titicaca lake in 2009, is supporting us to develop our project in Bolivia.

I have just returned from a four month internship with the Herpetology and Veterinary department at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, where I learnt many new skills.
Working with local species, the Agile frog

Working in the reintroduction programe of the Agile frog
During my Internship I was provided with the skills that are necessary to maximize our impacts on amphibian conservation within Bolivia. During my stay I had the chance to learn about a combination of practical hands-on amphibian husbandry training and complementary training in areas necessary to develop and run amphibian conservation projects.  The four month internship improved my knowledge of amphibian captive breeding, GIS, education, laboratory and veterinary work with amphibian samples and the strategies of designing successful conservation projects. These skills can be applied in the work that we are carrying out in Bolivia, with a particular focus on actions to be taken to conserve the Telmatobius species (such as the Titicaca water frog). 


Learning  in the veterinary department, working with amphibians 

On a personal note it was also a great opportunity for me to learn about the work of other conservationists. I made many new contacts and was given the chance to work with people who are so passionate about conservation.
Working with endangered species, the Mountain chicken


Now with these new techniques, and with renewed energy, I've returned to Bolivia to continue our project and I feel that the experience will allow us to work in better ways in the important conservation of Bolivian amphibians
Learning marking techniques