Romeo the Frog is Fighting for the Last-known Loa Water Frogs
Last month, the world’s loneliest frog found his one and only Juliet. Now, his luck has turned as he's reunited with even more Loa Water frogs that were rescued from a single stream in Chile. He's his story.
For over ten years, Romeo the Sehuencas water frog had been considered the last one of his kind. But earlier this year, his Juliet was found in the Bolivian cloud forest. The Sehuencas water frog team that takes care of Romeo released a letter in his voice to spread the word on the world’s last living Loa water frogs.
Loa water frogs (Telmatobius dankoi) are considered critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and last week, Chilean conservationists and government officials rescued what may be the last 14 of their kind. Malnourished and dry in their changing habitat, they have been relocated to the National Zoo of Chile.
Over 63 species of water frogs across Chile and Ecuador are likely facing the same threats as Romeo and the Loa water frogs. Water frogs are sensitive to changes in their environment, caused by habitat destruction and pollution.
“The first big challenge is to help these frogs survive and while the rescue was the best chance to save the Loa water frog, there are always risks with trying to care for a new species - especially when the animals are already struggling,” said Alejandra Montalba, Director of the National Zoo of Chile.
“That’s the main goal right now, and later we need to be able to breed them. But ultimately we need to work very hard to restore their environment because it’s pointless to breed them if they don’t have a home to go back to in the wild.”
The international conservation community is responding to Romeo’s letter with an eagerness to help and encouraging the Chilean government to protect the Loa water frog’s habitat as a regularly monitored reserve.