Romeo and Juilet Sehuencas Water Frogs

Finding a #Match4Romeo

In 2009, a team of biologists in Bolivia brought into captivity a single male Sehuencas Water Frog (Telmatobius yuracare), Romeo, with the hopes of creating a conservation breeding program for the traditionally common species ahead of the kinds of population crashes they were seeing with other frogs. For more than 10 years, however, biologists couldn’t find any other frogs and Romeo lived alone in an aquarium at the Alcide d’Orbigny Natural History Museum in Bolivia—until he got his own Match.com dating profile.

In February of 2018, GWC partnered with the museum and Match, the world’s largest relationship company, to find Romeo a date and save his species from extinction. With Romeo’s Match.com partnership, GWC and the museum were able to raise $25,000 to send an expedition team into Bolivia’s wilderness in search of a Juliet.

And they were successful! In January of 2019, the team rediscovered the Sehuencas Water Frog in the wild, including a Juliet for Romeo, and four other frogs. Juliet now lives with Romeo in an aquarium at the museum’s K’ayra Center, and the celebrity couple and the other individual Sehuencas Frogs are the founders of a conservation breeding program to conserve the species. Someday we hope to be able to return Romeo and Juliet’s progeny to the wild—giving them a much happier ending than their Shakespearean namesake.

 

Top photo: Romeo and Juliet’s First Date by Robin Moore, GWC

Why Romeo Was The Last of His Kind

The Sehuencas Water Frog is previously known from fewer than 10 locations, but was once found in abundance as tadpoles on the bottom of small streams of the montane cloud forest or the Bolivian Yungas forest. Researchers suspect that the combination of the deadly amphibian pathogen chytrid, the introduction of trout, habitat loss, pollution and climate change have resulted in precipitous declines in water frog species in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, and are suspected in the decline of the Sehuencas Water Frog.

Saving Sehuencas Water Frogs
from the Brink

Ultimately the Sehuencas Water Frog project aims to save this species from extinction through a conservation breeding program and habitat protection. If natural breeding fails, the project may have to turn to emerging artificial reproductive technologies.

The project’s goals include:

  • Creating a conservation breeding program with the Sehuencas Water Frogs currently living at the Alcide d’Orbigny Natural History Museum in Bolivia. Develop a biobank of sperm and other tissues from the individuals in captivity to be used in in vitro fertilization in the case that natural breeding is not successful.
  • Understanding the specific drivers of the decline in aquatic frog species throughout the region to better protect those that are left in the wild.

Support Romeo and Juliet’s Happy Future Registry!

Romeo New Home
New Home

Purchase a new dedicated container for Romeo, Juliet and their friends at the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny.

Romeo Home Furnishings
Home Furnishings

Help deck out rooms (aka aquariums) for the whole neighborhood, complete with air conditioners, water filtration systems and more.

Romeo baby room
Baby Room

Nursery for tadpoles to grow and thrive.

Romeo dinner date
Dinner Dates for a Year

Support the loving couple by giving them romantic worm dinners every night by candlelight.

Romeo's keepers
Babysitting

Hiring staff to help take care of Romeo & Juliet’s future tadpoles. It takes a village!

Romeo college fund
Froglet College Fund

Prepare streams in the Bolivian cloud forest for the return of Romeo’s future generations to the wild.

Stay Wild. Stay Connected.