April 21, 2019
Latest News

Bolivian lake island aims to become sanctuary for giant frogs

Yolanda Salazar

Isla de la Luna, Bolivia, Apr 13 (efe-epa).- The 25 families who live on this island on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca are looking to make their home a sanctuary for critically endangered giant frogs.

The Telmatobius culeus, commonly known as the Titicaca water frog, is considered a sacred animal by the 85 residents of this island, which also is known as Isla de Coati and is accessible by boat from the town of Copacabana, located roughly 150 kilometers (90 miles) from La Paz.

"We want to protect the frogs. That's why we want this place to be declared a sanctuary so they're protected and aren't hunted," Porfirio Mamani, the island's indigenous authority, or Sullka Mallku, told EFE.

He said that for his community and many others on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which has a surface elevation of 3,812 meters (12,507 feet) and is the world's highest navigable lake, these frogs are important because "they attract the rain" that is vital for their bean, potato and corn crops.

Indeed, when the region is short of water local residents conduct a ritual with native music and dances so that the frogs "sing" and bring rain to the island with their sounds.

In addition, when these amphibians are found near the shores of the lake they signal the presence of large quantities of ispi, a small fish that is widely consumed by the local population and a fundamental part of the community's economy.

"For all of these reasons, the frogs are sacred to us and we respect them," Mamani said, adding that when they are "caught in the nets cast for the ispi we carefully free them."

For his part, Arturo Muñoz, a biologist with the Bolivian Amphibian Initiative, a foundation that supports Isla de la Luna's sanctuary project, said that island "is one of the best sites for this species" because of the conditions of the habitat, its numbers and health and the commitment of the local inhabitants.

The Titicaca water frog, which is exclusively found in Lake Titicaca and has a round head, a large body and prominent folds of baggy skin that allow it to absorb the oxygen it needs, has been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The frogs once grew to as long as 20 centimeters, although now the length of the specimens seen in the lake are between 10-12 cm.

These amphibians are threatened by pollution in Lake Titicaca and also are hunted and sold as a delicacy in restaurants or as an ingredient in aphrodisiac juices that are mainly consumed in Peru, biologist Patricia Mendoza, coordinator of the Bolivian Amphibian Initiative, told EFE.

Efforts to conserve the Titicaca water frog go hand-in-hand with a vision of promoting sustainable ecotourism and boosting the income of the island's residents, who depend mainly on fishing and the sale of handicrafts for their livelihoods.

Lake Titicaca has a surface area of more than 8,500 square kilometers (3,280 square miles), serves as a natural border between Bolivia and Peru and is a tourist attraction for both countries.

News history
Hundreds attend former Green Party leader's anti-coal mine rally in Australia

Sydney, Australia (efe-epa).- Around a thousand protesters took part in a rally at Parramatta Park in Sydney on Saturday as part of a countrywide campaign...

Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) torchlight procession

By Laura Serrano-Conde

Christians flock to Jerusalem for Good Friday

By Joan Mas Autonell

Peru's Garcia left suicide note

Lima, Apr 19 (efe-epa).- Peruvian former President Alan Garcia wrote a note before taking his own life to avoid prosecution on corruption charges, his...

Mexican muralist chronicles the coming of the conquistadors

Veracruz, Mexico, Apr 19 (epa-efe).- Melchor Peredo Garcia has created six murals to represent the "historical and sociological phenomenon" of the arrival...

Newcomer lands main role in Mexico's grandest Passion Play

Mexico City, Apr 19 (epa-efe).- On this Good Friday, for the first time in 15 years, the role of Jesus in the famed Passion Play in the Mexico City borough...

Israel marks Passover, commemorates exodus from Egypt

Jerusalem, Apr 19 (efe-epa).- Israel's Jewish community is set to mark Passover, the holiday that commemorates the departure of their ancestors from Egypt...

Algiers' young people want job prospects, a better economy

With the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika earlier in April following weeks of protests against him running for a fifth term, Algeria is...

A city in the Philippines reenacts Passion of Christ with real sweat, blood

By Sara Gómez Armas.

Everest climber Kami Rita returns to break his own world record

By Sangam Prasai.

Long lines once again in Caracas, this time for humanitarian aid

By Barbara Agelvis.

Brazilian inmates' creations to hit runway at Sao Paulo Fashion Week

Sao Paulo, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- A score of male inmates at one of Brazil's maximum-security prisons have been hard at work for months on creations set to...

Pope urges bishops to show compassion when smearing chrism

Vatican City, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- The Pope called on bishops to identify with those of faith within their communities as well as to show compassion with...

Saudi Arabia postpones hearing for women activists

Cairo, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- A Saudi Arabian court has postponed a hearing in the trial of women's rights defenders Wednesday, almost a year after they were...

Migration north of broad-winged hawks makes stopover in Colombia

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

France launches architectural competition to replace Notre Dame spire

Paris, Apr 17 (efe-epa).-The French government has launched an international architectural competition aimed at rebuilding a spire on Paris’ iconic Notre...

Climate change activists glue themselves to London train

London, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Climate change activists glued themselves to the top of a train in London on Wednesday in a third day of protests.

Notre Dame pledges exceed $790 million as BNP Paribas, SocGen join donor list

Paris, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- BNP Paribas and Societe Generale have joined the list of companies and business elite who together have pledged more than $790...

Teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg meets Pope Francis

Vatican City, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg met Pope Francis on Wednesday during the weekly general audience in the...

Migrants crossing southern US border, turning selves in to authorities

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- Central American migrant families are saying they made the decision to illegally cross the border into the United...

Red Cross: Electric generators in first humanitarian aid for Venezuela

Caracas, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan Red Cross on Tuesday announced the entry into the country of the first shipment of humanitarian aid, including...

Penitents in Atlixco, Mexico, prepare for painful Way of the Cross

Atlixco, Mexico, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The penitents of this town in central Mexico are preparing for one of the country's most representative Stations of the...

Indigenous reserve in Brazil survives near largest city in South America

By Alba Santandreu

The girls exploited in convents in the Netherlands

By Imane Rachidi

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.