Endangered 'Inca' frogs thriving at Paignton Zoo

Torbay Weekly

Paignton Zoo is now home to endangered frogs - linked to the ancient Incas.

It is one of only a few collections in the UK to house Lake Titicaca water frogs, which were donated by Slimbridge Wetland Centre.

The frogs are are freshwater lake in the Andes, on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Lake Titicaca is one of South America’s largest lakes and said to be the birthplace of the Incas.

Found in Amphibian Ark at Paignton Zoo, the frogs have laid clutches of fertile eggs that have recently started to hatch. The fast-declining species, which has reduced in numbers by as much as 80 per cent over the past 15 years.

Dr Katy Upton, Team Leader of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates at the zoo, said: “The LVI team have done a great job in looking after these frogs."

In the wild, the frogs are threatened due to their use in a Peruvian medicinal drink, known as ‘frog juice’, which is said to cure a variety of ailments including asthma and rheumatism. It is also sold as an aphrodisiac. Another threat is pollution,. In 2016, they made headlines when nearly 10,000 of them were discovered dead in the water near the lake, most likely due to pollution.