viernes, 21 de diciembre de 2012

more news from our offspring

tadpole of Telmatobius culeus

After a couple of days that we had the first eggs of Telmatobius culeus, now we have tadpoles. It was not so easy; everything was very nice and good until the day 6 and 7 when almost all our embryos were very well developed but we don’t know why?, but several of the tiny tadpoles that were inside of the eggs could not go out, in some cases we saw that some individuals were trying to go out but it was not successful and in other cases other small tadpoles were able to go out but they died. We are still searching the possible reasons for this, but fortunately we already have free swimming tadpoles that are doing well and they are already growing up very fast.

Tadpole of Telmatobius culeus
It is a great opportunity to learn more about this species and also to get more information that can be useful for the future not just for us but also for other institutions that want to work with this species.
size of a tadpole of Telmatobius culeus (one week after)
It seems that the good news are coming  together because a couple of days before we had another species of Telmatobius having eggs, this time from the south of Bolivia that probably is a new species for Bolivia or to science. Now we have also some tadpoles from this new species and with this we increase at four the species that we are able to breed in our captive breeding facilities.

another species of Telmatobius with a new offspring

These events are giving us a lot of information and also hope for these species and also if we are able to find some species that we are not finding anymore, we think we are going to be able to give them a chance to exist in this world.

viernes, 14 de diciembre de 2012

Great news about captive breeding

Amplexus of one couple of Telmatobius culeus

Now coming back with some good news, this time from our captive breeding component; after some success breeding different species of Telmatobius we decided to try to breed our individuals of the critically endangered Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus). After some time learning how to keep them, working with the water quality of their aquariums that are very special due the water of the lake and also after treat the frogs for Chytrid, we decided to put together our male frogs with the females.
Amplexus of another couple of Telmatobius culeus

Was very interesting to see how they reacted and to see that they were more than ready to try to breed, the first couple of days we saw different amplexus where males hold females to try to breed.

taking notes about the process

About one week later we had some news, eggs in the aquarium! First time we try and we did it! Now to see if the eggs were ok, but just a couple of days waiting and with our first photos we found that they were developing… we saw that they took more time that our other species but they were doing well, now after some days, they are already leaving their eggs and finally we have our first tadpoles of the critically endangered Titicaca water frog.
embrios of Telmatobius culeus

This is a hope for us, telling us that the different species that are under a high risk to disappear can have an opportunity, we just need to work together.

Development of the eggs of Telmatobius culeus

lunes, 10 de diciembre de 2012

Is Chytrid in these localities?

The second part of fieldwork in Bolivia was very interesting, we found some new populations of the threatened amphibians of the genus Telmatobius, also we visited other localities that we use to monitor some populations.

A tree frog in one stream in Potosi department
We found a big change in water quality between different seasons of some streams that seem to change in the dry season and in the wet season.
In one of the localities we did not find adult frogs, just two tadpoles but also for our surprise we found two dead juvenile frogs of Telmatobius simonsi in the same stream and not so far one from each other. It was strange to see this in this stream were before we never found dead frogs. We collected all the samples and we want to analyze those samples to know what it is really happening in this area, because if Chytrid did arrive to this area, we would need to do something urgently.
One of the dead Telmatobius frogs that we found in the area

 We really hope that these populations that are present in dry and high areas that seem to be ok will not have the same pattern of declination like species from mountain cloud forests that are not anymore present.
Collecting samples of dead individuals

domingo, 2 de diciembre de 2012

in search of the frogs

Searching frogs in the mountains

Time to go out to the field and to see how the amphibian populations are going, this time we are crossing almost all the country visiting the different sites in five departments of Bolivia, Cochabamba, Oruro, Potosi, Chuquisaca and La Paz. We are trying to find the different populations, to obtain samples of water quality, chytrid swabs, UV readings and to try to find some extra populations mainly of threatened amphibian species of the genus Telmatobius.

Obtaining water quality information

For this we are visiting to de different sites with our team searching frogs in different sites, but unfortunately several places were before were very common or it was a record of some species, we are not finding frogs anymore, this is the case of Telmatobius yuracare, one species that before was very common, but not anymore. Now several streams are empty, no more frogs, we try to think what the reason is and a lot of new questions come out. 

Taking Chytrid samples

In one of the sites, we had again the comment of the local people telling us that the amphibians went to the war, like we heard before in other are some time ago when they told us that the frogs went to the war and since then they died a lot of frogs and that they found a lot of dead frogs in the streams… probably this situation is related with the arrival of chytrid to the area and it is interesting to see what was the reason and when exactly. Another common thing in these sites was the presence of an exotic species; the trout that now is present in all these streams and probably also has an effect in the Andean amphibian populations like had in other areas.

Hypsiboas a tree frog of the Andes

After several places with no frogs we moved to other areas and it was less frustrating to be able to see our frogs doing it well, some adults, tadpoles in different stages and relatively common, this is giving us a hope, but also telling us that we still having the change to try to understand what is really happening with amphibian populations that are decreasing and this is what we are trying to do. Now we still having some other places to visit and we hope we are going to find more frogs, frogs that tell us how our environment is going. 

An individual of Telmatobius and its habitat

sábado, 1 de diciembre de 2012

Joining efforts for amphibians

Working together helps to understand and to be able to work for the conservation of biodiversity with fastest and better results. For this reason we are trying to get in contact, to coordinate and to work together with other researchers, institutions and conservationists.

This is the case of Dr. De la Riva (Spain) and Dr. Burrows (Puerto Rico) that at the moment are in Bolivia working with a project with Chytrid and because we already are working with this subject with other institutions we are trying to coordinate and support for the understanding of this disease. They visited our facilities and also took some samples for the future analysis and to test some hypothesis about this disease.
Another case is Dr. Denoel from Belgium visiting the project with the different localities where we are working and exploring different options to work together especially with ecology, exotic species and the impact in amphibian populations. 

With this visit we possible will start collaboration between both institutions
These are some examples of the contacts that we are developing and that we think are going to help our work for the conservation of our biodiversity. For this we always welcome people or institutions that want to help us to work and that want to work together for the conservation of Bolivian amphibians.

martes, 7 de agosto de 2012

Acquiring and sharing skills

It is very important for conservation projects to be updated and share the knowledge that in different parts conservation institutions are using, so in this way we have less chances to do the same mistakes or to develop our work in a better way with better and faster results.

participants and some lecturers of the Amphibian Conservation Husbandry course 2012

Capacity building is one key component of the Bolivian amphibian initiative and in this case we participated with our staff in the Amphibian conservation Husbandry course organized by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust this June in Jersey United Kingdom.
Andrea learning how to inject microchips in amphibians
Andrea one of our staff was participating as a student to acquire the last tools and skills to work in conservation and with captive populations of amphibians and also was a very good experience for her to get in contact with other people in the world that is carrying out the same work she is developing within Bolivian amphibian Initiative. This experience gave Andrea a very good opportunity to see things from other point of view and also to understand where we want to arrive with the conservation of Bolivian amphibians. Now Andrea back to Bolivia after sharing all these experiences with the rest of the staff, she is also applying all these new tools to improve the work we are carrying out.
practice of marking techiques
practice of marking techiques

This very useful and interesting course was also an opportunity for me to share the knowledge about captive breeding and the different aspects that one to be aware, also all the experiences we are obtaining in the work with captive breeding and showing how conservation can be carried out in a developing country with very few resources. This also was a great opportunity to make new contacts and to refresh all the energies that we always get when we go back to Durrell and see all these people from all the world working for the conservation of endangered species.

visiting captive breeding facilities at Durrell

Now our next step is together with our team to organize the fourth amphibian conservation course in Bolivia that is organized by the Bolivian amphibian Initiative for students and young biologists and conservationists of Bolivia and surrounding countries, so we can spread our knowledge and experiences and more people can work for the conservation of endangered species.
Reintroduction of Agile frog tadpoles in Jersey 

domingo, 8 de julio de 2012

New offspring of Telmatobius this year

Captive breeding is not just keeping individuals in captivity, one need to be able to obtain offspring from the species. This is the reason that at the moment we are testing different ways to breed the species that we have in captivity. We test different things and we try to find the best option, so in the future we can use this experience to breed our species and work in the future reintroduction projects we plan to do.
This year we were able to have another offspring of our model species Telmatobius hintoni. The founders were collected when they were tadpoles and this year after some months with several signs of breeding behavior the frogs laid their eggs and now we have several tadpoles that are doing well.
These steps will allow us to improve the work and also to do more research in the natural history of the species, and probably also to start testing with future reintroductions.
There are much more steps that we need to go, but slowly we are finding very interesting results and also this give us a hope for the future of at least some species of bolivian amphibians.

martes, 29 de mayo de 2012

The first number of fieldguides of Bolivian amphibians

plate of amphibians of Guacharos, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Bolivia holds a high diversity of amphibians and almost nothing is known, several places are a gap talking about amphibian surveys or knowledge.
There is no a fieldguide or book of all Bolivian amphibians but there is a lot of interest of biologists, students, tourists and general people to learn and to see these fantastic animals.
Due to that we are working with amphibians we saw the need to share the information and the knowledge we are acquiring with our work. For this reason we are developing fieldguides of amphibians of different sites where we worked or we are working so more people can have access to this kind of material.
There is very basic but we are very interested to prepare a book of the amphibians of Bolivia and we hope to find more interested people to support this initiative.
If you are interested in the plates and want to support with future ones, do not hesitate to contact us.
To download the plates go to our website and then to fieldguides:

sábado, 28 de abril de 2012

Live food for the frogs

Building the greenhouse
One of the main aspects to have frogs in good conditions is the nutrition. Providing them not enough, too much or bad quality of food can bring some problems for the frogs.

The container and the greenhouse

This is the reason that we are improving our live food production where we can control and provide our frogs a good quality and variety of food. Due that temperature in our city is not so warm and because it was too difficult to warm up a room we decided to build a greenhouse where we can hold and raise our own food. 

The greenhouse from inside with earthworms, cockroaches, woodlice, fish and snails

At the moment we are starting with a group of cockroaches (Blaptica dubia) that now are starting to breed much faster with warmer temperatures. Another live food that we are trying to breed is woodlice and pill bugs that are well accepted by our frogs, so we are trying now to breed them.
Breeding cockroaches 

woodlice for our frogs

Earthworms is another group of live food that is very interesting because the nutritional qualities and also that they can survive long time in the water for our aquatic frogs, now we have a good number of earthworms that are breeding and soon will provide a good amount of food.
Earthworms in our greenhouse

Fish and aquatic snails are useful for some of our species and for this reason we are trying to breed some in the aquariums so we can provide the frogs a variety of items that will improve the nutritional status of the frogs.

Fish that are going to be used as food
With all this variety of food and also a better quality we pretend to improve the efficiency and results of our captive breeding program of endangered amphibians.

Telmatobius hintoni with a earthworm

viernes, 27 de abril de 2012

Water quality for the frogs

To keep amphibians in captivity in good conditions we need to be aware of several things, one of these is water quality, especially when we are working with aquatic frogs like we are.
Telmatobius frogs are aquatic frogs that have different dependence of water bodies and some of them are completely aquatic, one case is Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus), that lives just in Titicaca lake in Peru and Bolivia.

Telmatobius culeus one frog that we are trying to breed

Working at the beginning with this frog we had some problems, but after some experiences of water management we were able to fix it. Now that we have a water test equipment we are taking different parameters from different places of Bolivia to know the water quality that different species use and also if there is a variation during the year.
Andrea measuring water quality in one stream
For this component we also are supporting a research that is obtaining information in the wild about different water parameters such as temperature, pH, hardness, alkalinity, ammonium, nitrite, nitrate and phosphates. After obtaining all this information we are trying to replicate these parameters in captivity with different recipes that we are testing.
All this research and information is improving a lot our results in captivity and now we can provide our frogs with a better quality of water that will allow us to breed these species much better.
Andrea measurin water quality in Titicaca lake

miércoles, 29 de febrero de 2012

The Leap day

As part of the global campaing of the Leap day the Bolivian amphibian Initiative and the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d'Orbigny, organized different activities in the Museum.

Climb like a frog, games in the boulder related with the frogs.

Talks about amphibians and the work conservationists are carrying out

Drawing contests where kids from different ages can participate drawing the frogs of Bolivia.

and several other activities with games, talks and contests where people are learning more about the unique amphibians we have and what they can do to help us to protect them
more information please visit our Facebook galleries:

miércoles, 8 de febrero de 2012

The leap day and Photography contest

            LEAP DAY IN BOLIVIA!!!!
Bolivian Amphibian Initiative as part of the “Lipping ahead of extinction” event is planning some great activities to celebrate the Leap day!!!. You, your friends and family are invited to leap to the Natural History Museum Alcide d’Orbigny and be part of this fun amphibian events:
§  Photo contest: In this photo contest participants of all Bolivia can show their talent by taking pictures of wild Bolivian amphibians. There are two categories that include:
o   Amphibians in general
o   Endangered amphibian species 
more information:
§  Drawing contest: we invite to all children less than 12 years old to show us their talent by drawing the amphibian they like most!!
§  Climbing like frogs!!!! In this activity all visitors to the Leap day frog in the Natural History Museum can participate of some great climbing games. We’ll have an artificial boulder where all participants can climb, leap and learn with amphibian related games.
§  Talks and visits: as a part of our celebration we’ll have experts presenting amphibian talks and tours to see some of the great frogs.
§  Games!!!: We’ll have some great learning activities for children that include fun and educational material that can show kids how great is to know about amphibians and how important is to take care of them!
§  Sharing information: finally we’ll show some posters with information about amphibian crisis and the conservation work carried out in Bolivia.