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10,000+ frogs have died in Lake Titicaca, Peru

The baggy-skinned frogs absorb oxygen, and environmental contaminants through their skin.
Credit: Courtesy of the Denver Zoo
More than 10,000 endangered frogs and other water-dwelling animals living near a lake in South America were found mysteriously dead this month, according to reports from Peru’s wildlife and forestry service Serfor, leaving many people to wonder what could have caused this bizarre die-off.
 
The Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus), also known as the “scrotum frog” for its loose skin, is one of the most critically endangered frogs in the world. The large, entirely aquatic frog adapted to the high altitudes of Lake Titicaca, which flows along the border between Bolivia and Peru, by taking in oxygen through its skin folds. This evolutionary adaptation also makes the frog highly sensitive to changes in its habitat, such as environmental contamination, according to Tom Weaver, curator of reptiles and fish at the Denver Zoo.
 
Researchers are currently investigating the latest massive die-off, which they think may have been caused by some sort of contamination. In 2014, an algae bloom that removed oxygen from the water, killed a number of frogs and fish, Weaver said.
 
“We’re collecting more samples to find out what’s causing this, because it could potentially be a disease outbreak or a contamination outbreak,” Weaver told Live Science. “When you have an estimated 10,000 frogs die off, then it’s usually a contamination of some sort.”
 
The Denver Zoo has been involved in an effort to save the Titicaca water frog for nearly a decade. Researchers at the zoo have previously worked with authorities in South America when such large die-offs occur, and are again collaborating in research on the current die-off.
 
Weaver said the Denver Zoo team doesn’t hear about every incident but that these die-offs are occurring more often, which suggests that the lake and surrounding rivers are perhaps being impacted by infrastructure development and contamination in the area.
 
“This is not something that happened just yesterday,” Weaver said of the die-off at Lake Titicaca. “It’s been going on for a while and is probably still going on right now. Everything else is dying in the lake — the fish — and it’s affecting the whole chain — the whole ecosystem.” [Photos: America’s Only Lake Titicaca Frogs]
 
The rainy season has begun in the area, and Weaver said this may have triggered the movement of contaminants, such as human sewage and heavy metal pollution, toward the lake. He noted that locals say more amphibian and fish deaths occur during the rainy season.
 
In a blog post, Roberto Elias, Peru field program manager for the Denver Zoo, wrote about the infrastructure and waste that has contaminated the water and may have led to the frogs’ deaths. Many of the deaths were noted along the Coata River, a tributary of Lake Titicaca. This river serves as a water source for several villages in the region, but it is also used as “landfill” by local people, according to Elias. 
 
“In the past, there have been complaints due to high pollution” including solid waste seen along the river, Elias wrote in the post. “This can be harmful to human and animal health, and is seen to a greater degree in species more susceptible such as fish and amphibians.”
 
For the Titicaca water frog, these incidents are incredibly harmful because the amphibian is considered “critically endangered” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses species’ conservation status. Over 15 years, more than 80 percent of the Titicaca water frog population has disappeared due to overexploitation, habitat degradation and invasive species, the IUCN said.
 
“It’s devastating; the species is already struggling to begin with, and this is a bigger hit to it,” Weaver said. “Whether or not the populations come back in these areas is yet to be seen.”
Courtesy of livescience.com

Thousands of frogs dying due to deadly fungus across California, USA

A deadly fungus that’s been devastating frog populations is still spreading across the globe. In California, the chytrid fungus has moved inexorably across the Sierra Nevada from west to east, leaving thousands of frogs dead.
 
But Bay Area scientists are trying to turn the tide against the fungus with an experimental treatment, one that could matter to frogs worldwide.
 
They’re making a last-ditch effort to save the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog by immunizing it against chytrid.
 
Mountain yellow-legged frogs, found only in California’s alpine lakes, have been in steep decline due to the fungus as well as predation by non-native trout. More than 90 percent of the population has disappeared.
 
“When it hits, it’s within weeks that they’re just gone, just literally gone,” says Jessie Bushell, director of conservation at the San Francisco Zoo.
 
Bushell is part of an emergency search-and-rescue operation for the frogs.  Like last summer, when she got up before dawn and drove five hours to meet a helicopter flying out of the Sierra Nevada.
 
“This bright yellow helicopter comes landing down,” she says. “The doors fly open. The firefighters start unloading these large white coolers.”
 
The coolers were holding hundreds of wiggling, green tadpoles, the sole survivors of a deadly outbreak at their remote alpine lake. Federal biologists had found dozens of frogs dying from chytrid fungus and, hoping to save the species, had collected their remaining young.
Courtesy of ww2.kqed.org

Large die off of fish, eels and frogs in a river in Tursi, Italy

The morìa of fish and frogs in the Trasta, the stream that crosses the Valpolcevera downstream of the pipeline for the Third pass, arrives in the City Council: after reporting from area residents, alarmed at seeing carcasses emerge from increasingly murky waters, to raise the issue in the red room was Stefano Dama , who requested updates on samples from Arpal.
 
The most likely hypothesis at the moment is that the water contains an excessive percentage of aluminium that has intoxicated the fauna of rio, but still lack official confirmation, as explained by the Deputy Mayor Bernini: ‘ we are still checking what the source of pollution, in the area there are several drains.
 
The alarm was triggered last June 26, when the inhabitants of Trasta, after having noted the large number of eels and frogs died in the torrent, had alerted the police that in turn demanded the intervention of Arpal to collect samples and check what kind of substance had caused the morìa: «we are waiting for the official results must inform us Once known and verified a possible correlation with the yards of the third Pass we will make all the necessary checks, “assured Bernini.“
Courtesy of genovatoday.it

Hundreds of giant frogs found dead and dying due to pollution in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Gulls swept down to feast on hundreds of dead and dying giant frogs floating in the rancid waters along a southeastern shore of Lake Titicaca, where the algae-choked shallows reek of rotten eggs.
 
The die-off was the most striking sign yet of the deteriorating state of South America’s largest body of fresh water.
 
Local fishermen have a harder time finding anything to catch, while farmers who work the land along the shores complain that tainted water is stunting crops.
 
As human and industrial waste from nearby cities increasingly contaminate the famed lake that straddles the border between Bolivian and Peru, the native Aymara people who rely on it for food and income say action must be taken before their livelihoods, like the frogs, die off.
 
“We used to live off of fishing,” said Juan Quispe, a local villager. “But now we have nothing to sustain us.” The fish have moved farther and farther from shore.
 
On a recent Saturday, the 78-year-old Quispe joined a cleanup brigade to remove dead dogs, tires and other refuse from the shore of Cohana Bay where the lake meets the Katari River.
 
Near-shore fishing was good until about 2000, when locals began to notice that the crystal azure waters periodically would turn a murky green, Quispe said.
 
Most pollution on the Bolivian side, including such toxic heavy metals as lead and arsenic, originates in El Alto, a fast-growing city of 1 million people near La Paz that sits 600 feet (200 meters) above the lake and just 25 miles (40 kilometers) away.
 
Seventy percent of El Alto’s 130 factories operate illegally and are not monitored for pollution, says Bolivia’s environment ministry. Runoff from mining exacerbates matters.
 
A study by the binational Lake Titicaca Authority found elevated levels of iron, lead, arsenic and barium in the water, the worst at the mouth of the Katari, which flows from El Alto.
 
Contamination is most serious in the shallow waters of Cohana Bay, near the popular tourist spot of Copacabana and, on the Peruvian side, Puno Bay and near the Ramis and Coata rivers. The latter flows from the city of Juliaca.
 
Urban runoff is not solely to blame. More than half the people living along the shores lack plumbing and existing local water-treatment plants are badly overtaxed, the lake authority says.
 
To date, the only true remediation has been sporadic algae cleanups, authority president Alfredo Mamani said. “It’s like cleaning a pus-oozing wound without attacking the cause.”
 
Bolivia and Peru created the authority to manage the body of water but have given it few resources to do so, he said. While Mamani declined to disclose the authority’s budget, he said it has 30 employees and no money for equipment or projects.
 
During a meeting Tuesday in Peru, the presidents of the two countries agreed to strengthen the authority and to form a binational commission that, over the next six months, will come up with a plan to help the lake and finance the effort.
 
Long before the frog deaths in April, the authority asked Peru and Bolivia for permanent monitoring efforts and laboratories to measure contaminants entering the lake. Even without such resources, the signs of contamination are obvious.
 
Mamani blames the frog kill on untreated sewage and other waste that distill into a hydrogen-sulfite cocktail that chokes the life out of near-shore aquatic habitats.
 
“It is time that urgent and coordinated measures be taken,” Mamani said.
 
While only a small portion of Titicaca’s waters are polluted, the affected areas are along shores where more than a half-million Aymara people live, he said.
 
Trout farms and nearby agriculture also have suffered.
 
Quispe said the potatoes he grows near the shoreline have shrunken over time, a change he blames on contamination of the lake waters, which partially cover his fields before each growing season.
 
Locals fear the tourism industry is next. Each year, some 750,000 tourists visit the 12,470-foot-high (3,800 meter-high) Lake Titicaca for its reed boats, pre-Columbian ruins and majestic views of snowcapped Andean peaks.
 
Villagers from Puerto Perez, who paddle tourists on the lake on weekends, showered Bolivia’s environment minister, Alejandra Moreira, with complaints at a meeting in a nearby village in May.
 
She suggested the 46 communities on Titicaca’s shores and islands, which are among the poorest in the two Andean nations, pool funds for expanded sewage systems and treatment plants.
 
The village secretary, Guillermo Vallejos, called her response worse than inadequate.
 
“When we have problems, officials come, take pictures and leave,” he said. “Rarely do they return. We must do everything ourselves to save the lake.”
 
Deputy Environment Minister Ruben Mendez later said that the Bolivian government plans to raise tens of millions of dollars to build waste treatment plants along Titicaca’s shores.
 
Details about the plan, however, have yet to be provided.
Courtesy of therepublic.com

2 TONS of fish, frogs and birds found dead on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia

Frogs, fish and dead ducks floating on the murky green water that surrounds the island Quehuaya on Lake Titicaca Minor. Fishermen and visitors should cover their nose to navigate the site. An inter-institutional commission verified the death of amphibians and fish.
 
Three hours from the city of La Paz, in the municipality of Puerto Pérez (province Los Andes), it is the island Quehuaya and floating resort; its inhabitants live off fishing and agriculture try to rescue the species that inhabit the lake. A month ago, students of the educational unit of the place began the task of saving the fish and frogs.
 
Biology professor Justin Limachi, driver of rescuing species, recalled that during three days of high school students caught with nets Quehuaya two tons of ducks, fish and dead frogs. The remains were buried in the ground and covered with lime to prevent further contamination.
 
Amphibians and fish that were still alive were moved to less polluted waters, though there are fears that the dirty liquid reaches the whole area in a few months.
 
“In late March we were surprised by the color of water in the Lago Menor or Wiñay Marka Titicaca. Whole lake sector was green lens is floating on the surface and thousands of fish, frogs and ducks. Besides the smell is unbearable, “said biology teacher.
 
On April 20, The reason was present at the site and verified that there are still fish and frogs that come to the surface, sail a few minutes and then sees floating lifeless. Gulls seek their food from the water. The trapping some amphibian and feed on the remains began to flap and run along the shore, and within hours they perish.
 
Effect. As Enrique Calisaya, comunario of Quehuaya, the other residents of the area say the green coloration and fish kills are effects of the contamination of organic waste drag the Katari River, which feeds Lake Titicaca Minor.
 
One of the main causes of pollution Kohana Bay (area where the waste entering Lake Minor) is sewage coming from the municipalities of El Alto, Viacha, Pucarani, Laja and Puerto Pérez, according to Gonzalo Rodriguez, vice minister of Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Forest Management and Development.
 
“In addition to the pollution that make the five municipalities to the waters of the bay, the effects are also due to mining activities, livestock and environmental liabilities in the mining area of ​​Milluni” said the authority.
 
An interagency commission took samples of water, 7 and 8 April in Kohana Bay and the Strait of Tiquina, the Lago Menor, on the surface and 1.5 meters deep for contaminants of high and low intensity.
 
During the journey undertaken by the interagency commission changing color of the water a green hue and amphibians and fish death was verified.
 
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable world, shared by Bolivia and Peru with more than 8,000 square kilometers, is divided on Lake Maggiore and Lake Minor.
 
Lower Lake, the community members of Quehuaya regret that because of pollution floating island of 50 meters in diameter stopped receiving tourists, do not sell their crafts and are prevented from fishing in the area. They must navigate to the Lake Maggiore.
 
Quehuaya off the island is its twin, Pata Patani, passing through similar situation. A lot of dead fish and amphibians. Leandro Condori, originating authority, said his family lived for generations fishing, but pollution forced the young people to migrate to the city.
 
In the Bay of Kohana and community Karapata, pollution is similar to Quehuaya, but do not feel the smell of decomposition of organic material.
Affected in Peru and Bolivia
Towns
The municipalities affected by the contamination of Lake Titicaca in the territory of Peru are: Yunguyo, Anapia, Ollaraya, Unicachi, Copani. On the floor of Bolivia are Puerto Perez, San Pedro de Tiquina Huatajata Huarina, Laja and Battles.
Meetings
Representatives of municipalities gather for three years to hold governments start with cleaning the lake.
Courtesy of la-razon.com

Hundreds Of Frogs Found Dead In And Around A Lake In Curragh, Rep Of Ireland

Dead Frogs found at a lake in the Curragh

Water samples were collected yesterday after an estimated 250 to 300 dead or dying frogs were found in the area writes Paula Campbell.

An overnight analysis of the water sampled by the Herpetological Society of Ireland returned results that are within the normal range for a healthy habitat however.

The primary symptoms of the frogs discovered were dry, crackly skin around the neck area. There was also red discolouration in the skin of some of the frogs, known as common frogs, in what has been described as a ‘mass die off’ of the frogs in the lake.

There are a number of possible causes of this huge frog die-off including being a target for rats during the spawning seasons as they become an easy target because the are worn out after all the frog reproduction.

The Ranavirus, which causes internal haemorrhaging could also be a cause, alongside Chytrid, a pathogenic water fungus which invades the immune system, giving the animals a crusty appearance.

Skin swabs have been taken for DNA analysis in an effort to identify the root cause of this mass mortality occurrence.

The common frog also known as Rana Temporaria is a protected species so it is vital that the cause of this outbreak is found to prevent any future incidents.

A similar occurrence was reported in Waterford last year.