Science, Now + Beyond

Government sat idly by, allowing thousands of frogs to die

10,000 Peruvian water frogs turned up dead in the River Coata in Peru

If you looked at this picture and said “aw, what a cute little ugly frog!”, boy do we have sad news for you.

What’s happening

10,000 Peruvian water frogs turned up dead in the River Coata in Peru, which is a tributary to the larger Lake Titicaca. Campaign groups are pointing the finger at, not shockingly, pollution, especially on account of the presence of lots of solid residue and mud on the bodies of the frogs.

People have called out the desperate need for a sewer treatment plant in the area before in order to prevent the destruction of the water frogs’ habitat. The government has ignored the requests for the construction of a plant, and now we’re seeing massive repercussions.

Maruja Inquilla Sucasaca was the activist who first reported the bodies of the frogs to SERFOR, the Peruvian National Forestry and Wildlife Service. She led a group of activists to bring 100 of the frogs’ bodies to the central square of the region’s capital of almost 150,000 people, Puno, which is also nicknamed “ciudad del lago” or “city of the lake”.


Why is this important?

Why bring a bunch of dead frogs in the public? Because this is a serious issue. The deaths of all these frogs were preventable had the government only listened to the pleas for a sewage treatment plant. The water of the River Coata would be safe for not only the frogs, but all of the wildlife that lives there and in Lake Titicaca. Which is a lot of wildlife.

Like we saw very recently with the yellow-faced bees of Hawai’i, these frogs are an endangered species and are only found in Lake Titicaca and its surrounding tributaries in Peru and Bolivia. In the past 15 years, the population is estimated to have plummeted by almost 80 percent.

While in the past the decreasing population has been more heavily due to humans targeting the frogs as food and the introduction of invasive species into their habitat, it could be pollution that brings things to an end if left unchecked. This is so sad, especially since