In the Balsa de los Sapos, small frogs dominate. Giant Bullfrogs and toads float in formaldehyde, while countless tanks in a climate controlled room protect nearly 2,000 small tree frogs, larger marsupial frogs and tiny tadpoles that will one day have tanks of their own.
It’s the way of life at the Balsa, Martin Morocho, head researcher and faculty member in herpetology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE) explains because his lab works to protect frogs indigenous to Ecuador and the Amazon, while finding ways to eliminate invasive species such as the North American bullfrog.
While in Ecuador, I got the chance to tour his facility and talk to him and other researchers that are blazing the trail in frog, butterfly and native plants and trees research in Ecuador.
I also got the chance to visit the Center for Research on Health in Latin America (CISeAL) and see first hand efforts to eliminate another invasive species, the kissing bug or chinchorro. This bug causes chagas disease which the World Health Organization estimates plagues more than 6 million people. It can be especially problematic for children living in humble conditions.