Ten thousands of Titicaca water frogs were discovered dead in a tributary river in the the south of Peru, in late October 2016.
In 2015, similar event occured on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, and scientists believed that the most likely cause is the pollution.
The Titicaca water frog is an endangered species that is found only in the freshwater lake shared by Peru and Bolivia and its affluents. This entirely aquatic frog has excessive amounts of skin, used to breathe in the cold water in which it lives. They spend their entire life in oxygen-rich water, stay near the bottom, and do not surface to breathe if the water is well-oxygenated.
You can see the species has adapted an amazing equilibrium with this naturally harsh environment, says Arturo Muñoz, amphibian conservation biologist.*
But that equilibrium is failing now. The species can’t adapt quickly enough to the domestic, industrial and agricultural pollution that is throwing this equilibrium way off balance.
In 2015, the combination of an algal bloom caused by a build-up of nutrients and the release of hydrogen sulfide at the bottom of the lake as the result of high winds and heavy rains effectively cut off oxygen to the aquatic frogs.
This wiped out 80 percent of the population in Lago Menor, the small side of Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side.*