Bolivia’s Second Largest Lake Dries up, Likely for Good

posted: 01/25/16
by: Danny Clemens
Abandoned boat on Lake Poopo
Javier Mamani/LatinContent/Getty Images

Lake Poopo is no more. Once Bolivia's second largest, the lake has been declared evaporated after losing 98% of its surface water.

Experts blame Lake Poopo's demise primarily on extreme, El Nino-fueled drought conditions, but also cite the impact of nearby mining and agriculture operations that diverted the lake's water supply.

While Poopo has dried up and refilled several times -- most recently in 1994 -- experts fear that the lake has bowed out for good this time, as El Nino events have become too strong and frequent for the lake's delicate ecosystem to recover.

See Also: As Sixth Largest Salt Lake Dries Up, Iran Tries to Save It

Although the area was once rife with wildlife, 75 birds species have already disappeared from the lake basin.

NASA's Earth Observatory notes that the lake, which was four times the size of New York City at its peak, was especially prone to evaporation because of its shallow depth.

More than 3,000 nearby residents have sought humanitarian aid from the Bolivian government after their livelihoods disappeared along with the lake, The Independent reports.


About the blog:
DSCOVRD: The best of the web, covering space, technology, wildlife and more!
More on