Fish skeletons, dead birds, and fishing boats sit abandoned on the desiccated stretch of land that was once the second-largest lake in Bolivia. Lake Poopó is now practically bone-dry, leaving species decimated and hundreds of people without jobs. The lake—once twice the size of Los Angeles—has shrunk down to just 2 percent of its previous size, The Associated Press reports. It was officially declared evaporated in December.
Officials cite a drought fueled by El Niño weather patterns as the primary culprit for the lake’s disappearance. Located in the semiarid Andean plains at 12,000 feet above sea level, the 977-square-mile lake has dried up and rebounded in the past. But this time, experts don’t believe it will recover. FULL REPORT