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.
The Kansas City Zoo has assisted in building an Amphibian Ark to help with the captive breeding of the endangered Lake Titicaca water frog. We have also participated in field surveys, and have met with local community members, conservation organizations and the Bolivian government to ensure the preservation of the precious Lake Titicaca water frog and the environment it lives in.