The rare Titicaca water frog has come to Prague Zoo

News

04. 03. 2019


On Friday evening, a package of seventy Titicaca Water Frogs arrived at Prague Zoo. These frogs are exceptional in many aspects; they only live in Lake Titicaca, however, they are critically endangered, primarily due to pollution. Prague Zoo, in conjunction with certain North American and European zoos, is taking part in a programme to create an insurance population in captivity.

The rare Titicaca Water Frog arrives at Prague Zoo. Now Prague Zoo, together with certain North American and European zoos, is involved in a programme to create an insurance population in captivity. Photo: Petr Hamernik, Prague Zoo. The rare Titicaca Water Frog arrives at Prague Zoo. Now Prague Zoo, together with certain North American and European zoos, is involved in a programme to create an insurance population in captivity. Photo: Petr Hamernik, Prague Zoo.

Denver Zoo was the first zoo to transport the frogs directly from Peru, which is also on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It successfully bred them and asked the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums if it wanted to cooperate.

“Prague Zoo immediately signed up for the programme to create an insurance population of the Titicaca Water Frog. It is also about passing on information about the problems of one of the important ecosystems in the world. In the long run, we won’t be able to save these frogs if we can’t save the lake,” explains Petr Velenský, Prague Zoo’s curator of reptiles and amphibians.

“At first glance the Titicaca Water Frog is quite remarkable,” said zoo director Miroslav Bobek. “It never leaves the water and breathes almost exclusively through its skin. Due to the low oxygen content in the high-altitude Lake Titicaca, however, it has to use the largest surface area possible; therefore it has very distinct folds along its sides, body, back and legs. Our visitors will be able to see these folds and more this spring when we will open the special Lake Titicaca Exhibition.”

The Titicaca Water Frog will gradually appear in about a dozen European institutions. In the upcoming days, three of them – one in Wroclaw and two in Vienna – will get their frogs from Prague Zoo, which will keep a total of 20 specimens.

This spring visitors to Prague Zoo will be able to see for themselves just how truly remarkable the Titicaca Water Frog is when the zoo opens a special exhibition about Lake Titicaca. Photo: Petr Hamernik, Prague Zoo.This spring visitors to Prague Zoo will be able to see for themselves just how truly remarkable the Titicaca Water Frog is when the zoo opens a special exhibition about Lake Titicaca. Photo: Petr Hamernik, Prague Zoo.