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Lake Titicaca Frogs (13) More files... by Pete Oxford and Renee Bish
Lake Titicaca frogs are large (around 12 inches long) with baggy folds of skin along the abdomen, legs, stomach and neck that inspires their nickname - 'Scrotum Frog'. Why so much skin? This species lives in the highest freshwater lake on Earth which straddles Bolivia and Peru. The high altitude air holds lower concentrations of oxygen so the abundant skin on the frogs helps them to absorb more.

They are not pretty and they are in trouble. Thousands are annually collected for 'frog juice', or Peruvian Viagra. It’s a traditional aphrodisiac preparation, made of raw, skinned frogs blended with ingredients such as maca root and honey. Other threats have edged these creatures onto the Endangered Species list as well including urban wastewater, chemicals used in agriculture, dams, climate change, aquatic farming, novel diseases and invasive trout species.

Help is on the way. Five scientific institutions including government agencies are joining forces in a cross-border effort to preserve and study the frogs. Conservation projects including population monitoring, studies to find the reason for the mass deaths and efforts to reduce the demand for the species as a food/traditional medicine are under way. Education projects have resulted in some former frog poachers instead becoming part of a handicraft collective that provides a small alternative income.
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) showing extensive skin folds which help with oxygen absorption, Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru
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00216727 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) showing extensive skin folds which help with oxygen absorption, Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) view showing extensive skin folds which help with oxygen absorption, Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America
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00216726 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) view showing extensive skin folds which help with oxygen absorption, Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) view showing extensive skin folds which help with oxygen absorption, Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America
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00216725 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) view showing extensive skin folds which help with oxygen absorption, Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) swimming underwater in Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America
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00216724 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) swimming underwater in Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, swimming in foreground with researchers in a canoe in background at Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critical...
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00216731 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, swimming in foreground with researchers in a canoe in background at Lake Titicaca, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critical...© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, caught by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critically endangered
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00216730 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, caught by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critically endangered© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, held by researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critically endangered
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00216733 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, held by researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critically endangered© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, caught in a net by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critically endang...
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00216736 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, caught in a net by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, critically endang...© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, warning sign in research area at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America
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00216738 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, warning sign in research area at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, measured by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America
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00216737 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, measured by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America© Pete Oxford
Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, held by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America
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00216723 Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) the world's largest aquatic frog, held by a researcher at Lake Titicaca at 13,000 feet elevation, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and Peru, South America© Pete Oxford
Customers at a booth drinking frog juice, a blended concoction including Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) maca, honey and water which is considered an aphrodisiac, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and...
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00216739 Customers at a booth drinking frog juice, a blended concoction including Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) maca, honey and water which is considered an aphrodisiac, Andes Mountains, Bolivia and...© Pete Oxford
Biologist weighing a Giant Titicaca Frog while men in a canoe search for frogs, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru
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00216729 Biologist weighing a Giant Titicaca Frog while men in a canoe search for frogs, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru© Pete Oxford
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