You might be spending Valentine’s Day alone, but this frog isn’t. Should that spark joy? Well, it should. Romeo, a Sehuencas water frog, has spent 10 years of his life without a partner in a Cochabamba Natural History Museum. Yes, he might enjoy his time with his caretakers and biologists, but Romeo was considered the last of his kind.
In efforts to find him a match and to build a conservation program for his species, scientists even made a Match.com profile for Romeo. “I’m a pretty simple guy. I tend to keep to myself and have the best nights just chilling at home, maybe binge-watching the waters around me,” the description on his profile reads. Well, it looks like the search is over: They have found Romeo’s Juliet.
In a long search for another living Sehuencas water frog, zoologist Teresa Camacho and her team searched wide and far to find a match for Romeo. It was a difficult search. They found a couple of frogs. The first was a male like Romeo, the others were a couple more who are a little too young to reproduce, and there was Juliet, the most ideal partner for Romeo.
As of now, Juliet is still under quarantine until her test results are back. Scientists must make sure she isn’t a carrier of the deadly chytrid fungus. And they are slated to meet on Valentine’s Day.
Sehuencas water frogs’ lifespan doesn’t go beyond 15 years, so Romeo still has five years to go. If things don’t go well between Romeo and Juliet, conservationists are hopeful the younger ones could save their kind.
Ultimately, this is a wakeup call for us to take care of our environment. According to Camacho, the leading factors that almost placed Sehuencas water frog close toe extinction are climate change and water contamination.
We hope Romeo and Juliet would have a great Valentine’s date.
Art by Marx Fidel