When it was first described in 1998, the Sehuencas water frog was common in Bolivia.However, its numbers have declined rapidly in recent years due to a combination of factors including climate change, habitat loss and pollution."I met this guy who posed as a multimedia editor in Truly Madly.After a few chat sessions, we decided to meet up, says Tanya B, a 22-year-old student in Delhi University.To add to these problems, the Bolivian government is now planning to build a dam in the area that gave these frogs their name – Sehuencas.As a result, Romeo is the only Sehuencas water frog currently known to scientists, but Mr Muñoz hopes that is about to change.Now they have launched him into the world of online dating in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the rejuvenation of his species.Romeo was found on an expedition to the Bolivian cloud forests led by biologist Arturo Muñoz 10 years ago. “But unfortunately, we didn’t find any other individuals in the wild.” Since his discovery, Romeo has inhabited an aquarium in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
"I swipe left most of the time, but if I see someone interesting, there's no harm in chatting up To Date, or Not to Date But this is not Ankit Kothari's plan. If nothing is working out the "conventional way", why not try the app way," grins Kothari, a 29-year-old fitness instructor in Delhi.
Populations were further depleted by trout introduced from North America, which are known to feed on tadpoles, and the spread of the deadly amphibian disease chytridiomycosis.
The disease, caused by a highly infectious fungus, has been blamed for a massive global decline in amphibian populations, and is known to have resulted in hundreds of extinctions already.
The Bolivian Amphibian Initiative, led by Mr Muñoz – who is also a Ph D student at Ghent University – is aiming to locate a partner for Romeo by launching a series of expeditions into forested areas likely to harbour more of his kind.
With the help of the environmental organisation Global Wildlife Conservation and the dating service Match, the biologists hope to raise ,000 (£10,750) by Valentine’s Day to fund the expeditions to find Romeo a mate.