martes, 19 de abril de 2011

Did Chytrid fungus arrived here?

In one of our localities in Oruro, when we were working we talked with some local people and they told us, you are not going to find any frogs, there is no anymore frogs here. And then we started to have a conversation about that.
Our camp in one locality in Oruro

One of the guys asked us if we don’t know about the war of the frogs, he told us you must know because you work with frogs. Well he started with the story about this.
Some years ago (the same time of the war in Iraq, he said) the frogs went to this war to fight and a lot of dead frog were observed this period, he told us that there were a lot of dead frogs everywhere, they died in the war he told us. Since then people don’t see frogs, but recently they starting to see some, they are coming back he said, now that the war is finished they are coming back and now you can see some of them coming back.

This is an interesting information that maybe is a story but also can be related to a possible arrival of Chytrid to the area some years ago and also that can explain that there are no frogs in the area, would be interesting to see if the Chytrid arrived there, because it is not the first time that we hear this kind of stories about frogs disappearing in different areas.
This also can provide important information about this disease and the effects in Bolivian amphibian populations.
Our team in the mountains in search of frogs (Eleonore, MArina, Sarah and Arturo)

Finding new amphibian populations

Our team during the fieldwork (Eleonore, Sarah and Marina)

After our first site we continued our travel to Sucre and we went back to Cajamarca to monitor the Telmatobius simonsi population we found previously, we found some individuals and it seems that even there are very few, they are ok. 
Telmatobius simonsi found in the streams

After that place we moved to Potosi area were we worked in several localities and some of them we found a lot of frogs, of a endemic frog (Hypsiboas alboniger) and also water frog (Telmatobius) in high numbers, it seems that at least this population are in good conditions and we think that this can be a good place to monitor these populations in the future.
Sarah taking notes of the individual she found

In some transects we found even hundreds of frogs and very active and also tadpoles and juveniles of different species. We took data of all the individuals we found and also Chytrid samples to be analyzed later to have a better idea how is the situation in Bolivia with this issue.
With all this information we will be able to prioritize our effort trying to protect the endangered species of Bolivian amphibians.
Hypsiboas alboniger a very common species in some localities

Increasing awareness about amphibians

This time we organized a long trip to different sites of Bolivia, trying to find new populations of Telmatobius and to obtain basic data about population status of the species that we find over there and to carry out educational workshops to teach some facts about amphibians. 

school kids writing down what things they know about amphibians

Our first stop was in Rodeo a small town about 3600 m asl. After our fieldwork we organized educational workshops in the local school, we realized that almost nothing is known about the frogs they have in the surroundings and if they see frogs, sometimes they even kill the frogs.
Giving a talk about amphibians

It was interesting to see how they reacted to the information we provided them and also just watching the frogs in the pictures they were very excited. At the end of the workshop we gave them our book of Bolivian amphibians with pictures and information of the amphibians of Bolivia. also the authorities were very interested and they ask us to go back to the community to keep working in the area, even we did not find endangered species they told us that before Telmatobius was common.

We gave our book of Bolivian amphibians to the school

At the end of the workshop we gave to the school our recently published book of Bolivian amphibians where they can learn about our amphibians and we plan to do the same with other schools accross Bolivia.