Almost a year after conservationists sent out a plea to help save a species of Bolivian aquatic frog by finding a mate for the last known member, Romeo, his very own Juliet has been tracked down deep inside a cloud forest.
Not only did the wildlife conservation team return with a potential mate for Romeo, who had been 10 years a bachelor, but also another four members of the Sehuencas water frog species, boosting hopes to save the tiny amphibians from extinction.
After previously failed expeditions to the same area over the last decade, a joint expedition between Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and the Alcide d’Orbigny Natural History museum finally scored a success in the Bolivian wilderness.
And the good news came about after securing funding following a Valentine’s Day appeal last year to help find Romeo his Juliet.
“It is an incredible feeling to know that thanks to everyone who believes in true love and donated for Valentine’s Day last year, we have already found a mate for Romeo and can establish a conservation breeding program with more than a single pair,” said Teresa Camacho, the museum’s chief of herpetology and the expedition leader.
Romeo had been found in that same cloud forest a decade ago and it was feared that he was the last survivor in his species.
With a lifespan of 15 years, time was running out to find Romeo a mate to ensure the survival of the species, although the frog himself never gave up hope, continuing to call out for a mate during his 10 years in captivity.
In a statement, GWC said, “the bachelor’s luck is about to change drastically.”
The campaign was launched on Valentine’s Day with the aim of raising US$15,000 to find other Sehuencas out there in the wild, and, in the end, the profile was worth all the effort and the honesty.
Nevertheless, before these two star-crossed lovers can be officially united, Juliet will have to be screened and treated for the chytridiomycosis infection.
“We do not want Romeo to get sick on his first date!” says Badani. “When the treatment is finished, we can finally give Romeo what we hope is a romantic encounter with his Juliet.”
After all, love alters not with the brief hours and weeks but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
“We hope it will be love at first sight, but if that doesn’t happen, we’ll eat ice cream, watch ‘The Notebook,’ and try again!”