Endangered frogs put in blender to make 'healing juice'

A species of aquatic frog, listed by the IUCN as critically endangered, is used as an ingredient in a juice that some Andean cultures believe has special healing powers.

The Titicaca frog, Telmatobius culeus, is freshly killed and juiced on demand as a cure for bronchitis, anaemia, stress, fatigue and other health issues, including a low sex drive.

In a report by The Associated Press, Maria Elena Cruz, who is a vendor at one of the stands selling the juice in Peru's capital, Lima, explained how the drink is made. She first grabs a live frog from an aquarium containing a large number of the amphibians, then kills it by whacking it on the edge of the counter before skinning it and then dropping the whole frog into a blender along with some carrots, honey and Peruvian maca root.

After a couple of minutes the resulting green concoction is poured into glasses for customers.

The Titicaca water frog is the world's largest truly aquatic frog, with adults commonly weighing 1kg/2.2lb and measuring up to 50cm/20in length when outstretched. Its most distinctive feature is its very loose capillary-rich skin which hangs from its neck, stomach and legs and which is used in respiration underwater.

There is no scientific evidence to support the healing powers of the juice, but Cruz's customers — most of whom are from the Andean region that borders Bolivia, where the juice is also popular — are convinced of its benefits.