By Aliki Kraterou
The world’s loneliest frog – an amphibian called Romeo – has finally found his Juliet after more than 10 years as a bachelor.
Sehuencas water frog Romeo lives in an aquarium at the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny in Cochabamba City, Bolivia, and was thought to be the last of his species.
Desperate scientists couldn’t find a mate for the lonely toad despite numerous attempts over the years – even setting up a dating profile for him on Match.
But after new research was launched last year on Valentine’s Day, frog lovers in more than 32 countries donated to fund the search for a lady friend for Romeo.
And a recent expedition to a Bolivian cloud forest organised by the Global Wildlife Conservation in partnership with the museum rescued five Sehuecas frogs – including Romeo’s very own Juliet.
The two lovers haven’t met yet, as Juliet needs to be quarantined while she is treated for potential infections — but a very special first date is already being planned for them.
Expedition leader Teresa Camacho Badani, the museum’s chief of herpetology, said: “Opposites attract — while Romeo is very shy, Juliet is not at all so we think she will make an excellent match for Romeo.
“She is very strong, and swims very fast, she looks great and is healthy – and she likes worms as much as Romeo does.”
The researchers hope Romeo and Juliet will click so they can save their species from extinction by mating.
Teresa added: “Now our work begins—we know how to successfully care for this species in captivity, but now we will learn about its reproduction.
“We also need to get back into the field to better understand if any more frogs may be left and if so, how many, where they are, and more about the threats they face.
“With this knowledge we can develop strategies to mitigate the threats to the species’ habitat, while working on a long-term plan to return Romeo’s future babies to their wild home, preventing the extinction of the Sehuencas water frog.”
The dating profile campaign launched by Match last year, made the expedition that found Juliet possible after raising £19,000.
Hesam Hosseini, CEO of Match, said: “Our entire Match community rallied behind Romeo and his search for love last year.
“We’re thrilled with this outcome for Romeo and his species.
“He now joins the list of millions of members who have found meaningful relationships on Match.”
FOR MORE INFO: https://www.globalwildlife.org