Conservation

CONSERVATION
The Terra Incognita Project is developing a proposal to fund a second-stage study of the sustainability of Bufo Alvarius (Alvarius Incilius) toads in the Sonoran desert of Mexico and Arizona (building on data from our 2016 study). The Bufo Alvarius toad is native to the Sonoran desert and the secretions of the toad produce Bufotenine and 5-Methoxy-Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT), which is currently of interest to science, the medical community as well as the shamanic medicine community globally. Human interest in the toad secretions has seen an anecdotal surge in interest with many competing groups hunting and harvesting the toad venom in its native habitat. This habitat is also under pressure from global warming /climate shift, and concern has been raised for the long term viability of the toad in the wild.

 

2016 BUFO ALVARIUS SUSTAINABIILITY STUDY

In 2016 Terra Incognita members undertook an initial survey of a small area of the Sonoran desert in Mexico to better understand Bufo Alvarius to a populations and their sustainability.

PROJECT STAGES:

  1. To ascertain in broad strokes the presence of the Bufo Alvarius toad population in the Sonoran desert, starting with a manageable sample population in a micro-area of their breeding grounds around Hermosillo, TBD.
  2. To document evidence of human interaction in this sample population (ie, have others milked the toads already in this cycle, from which we can draw conclusions about scale of harvesting practices)

We were working in concert with the indigenous Seri Tribe around Punta Chuca who were reintroduced to the toad medicine and act as caretakers for the medicine in this bio-region. We ensured ethical considerations were met and all licenses for the legal exploration of the lands and engagement with the toads were satisfied with regional authorities. A small harvesting of toad medicine was conducted as part of the expedition, with some samples also sent on to western labs for bio-assay research.

OUTCOMES

  • To attain a localized data sample of size of toads population in the Sonoran desert to ascertain vulnerability to climate and human interference.
  • To examine the secretions of the Bufo Alvarius toad from that sample region in that season and bio-assay for more data on variations and concentrations of the active 5MEO properties.
  • To create a template and framework with this micro-study for a larger conservation study of larger regions within the Sonoran Desert and larger representations of the Bufo Alvarius population.
  • To establish relationships and agreements between the indigenous caretakers (Seri Tribe) of the land for best management practices of the Bufo Alvarius toads.

 

Funding is now sought for a 2017 study. US$ 13,500 is sought for the first phase of this study. Donations to the Terra Incognita Project are tax-deductible. The funds will directly go towards travel, lodgings, wages and logistical support for researchers to undertake a sustainability pilot study in August, 2017 in Arizona, and to establish frameworks for further growth and connection to the Mexican research. See more at: http://www.terra-incognita-project.org/toad-conservation-project/