The Bolivian Amphibian Initiative, coordinated by Senior Animal Curator, Tim Steinmetz, aids in accessing the aquatic species and environment in and around Lake Titicaca. Spanning the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca has remained a natural and cultural wonder. The lake’s massive size lends it a resiliency in the face of contamination from the booming lakeside cities. Within the last five years, a $500 million deal for preservation was struck between Bolivia and Peru. According to the Autonomous Authority of Lake Titicaca, more than 30,000 informal miners discard their tailings into the lake’s tributary rivers. In addition, the lake receives 20% of the 100 tons of solid waste from nearby cities.
Field work has been ongoing to study the Titicaca Water Frog. Some populations in the lake are still in good condition, but in some areas almost 80% of their population was discovered deceased and other individuals are in very bad condition.
Tim has traveled to Bolivia twice over the past two years. He assisted in building an Amphibian Ark to help with the captive breeding of the endangered Lake Titicaca Water Frog, participated in field surveys and has met with local community members, conservation organizations and government officials to ensure the preservation of the precious Lake Titicaca Water Frog and the environment it lives in.
In addition to creating the Amphibian Ark, the Bolivian Amphibian Initiative will include, research of poorly-known aquatic frogs, captive breeding of threatened Telmatobius frogs (Titicaca Water Frog), amphibian husbandry training for Bolivian students and conservationists, field surveys and research in Lake Titicaca and other areas of Bolivia and education programs designed for local communities, schools and staff working in protected areas.