Alcide D'Orbigny Natural History Museum - Atlas Obscura

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Alcide D'Orbigny Natural History Museum

Among fossils of creatures long since cast into oblivion, a once-single frog perseveres for his species.  

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In the first half of the 19th century, French naturalist (and contemporary of Charles Darwin) Alcide D’Orbigny traveled throughout South America collecting specimens. One of the places he stopped in was Cochabamba, Bolivia. In a quiet, walled-off compound on the city’s arterial Avenida América stands the Natural History Museum Alcide D’Orbigny, which houses a collection of remains both recent and ancient from across the country.

Past the fossils and taxidermied fauna, is a living resident who represents a remarkable struggle for survival. His name is Romeo, and for a time he was the last known Sehuencas water frog. Thanks to the efforts of the K’ayra Center, which is headquartered at the museum, global attention was drawn to Romeo’s plight as the world’s loneliest frog.

But an expedition in 2019 uncovered several more individuals of Romeo’s species, including his aptly-named partner, Juliet. The pair now live in the excellent care of K’ayra’s committed conservationists. 

Know Before You Go

The museum's hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. every weekday. Though Romeo is currently not part of any public exhibitions, if you chance upon a conservationist you can ask them what he's been up to. 

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