In June 2019 a young male tiger set out on his own to find a new home. Tigers are territorial and each has to find an area for themselves where they can hunt and mate without encroaching on another’s space. The male, who was born in the Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra, was fitted with a radio collar so that his progress could be monitored. Five months later he had travelled a distance of 1,300Km and was still looking for that special tigress and a place to settle.
When the plight of this tiger was reported, someone suggested that he use a dating app to find a mate. Now, we know what you’re thinking: handsome young guy with cell phone in his paw taking a couple of selfies to create his profile. His bio would look something like this: Just a simple cat, 2.5 years with a good set of stripes | Looking for the perfect match to take long walks and go swimming with | If things click, we can make beautiful little cubs together to ensure the survival of our species | Swipe right to catch the eye of this tiger.
Dating apps for endangered animals is a great idea!
As it turns out, if Tiger there did get a Tinder profile, he wouldn’t be the first animal to do so. Creating dating app profiles for endangered species looking for a mate has been doing the rounds for a few years now.
Here are some animal profiles going viral:
Romeo the Frog: Romeo is a Sehuencas frog, dubbed the world’s loneliest frog. He was found in the Bolivian wild and taken to an aquarium in the hope of finding a mate and breeding more of his species. However, finding a match for this little guy proved to be quite a challenge, given the critically endangered status of these frogs. As researchers trying to revive the species started running out of options, they teamed up with Match.com to create a profile for Romeo. No, the profile was not made with the intention of a female Sehuencas seeing it and swiping right; it was to create awareness. The adorable profile showed videos and images of Romeo with a voice-over telling Romeo’s story in the first person. The frog going viral on the dating app and social media helped raise funds to carry out expeditions to find a mate. Luckily for Romeo, he did find his Juliet. The funding also helped find four more mating pairs of this rare frog species.
Sudan the Rhino: Sudan the white rhino also took to Tinder when finding a mate didn’t go quite as he expected. As the last male northern white rhino, the survival of the species depended on him. Here’s how his Tinder profile reads:
I’m one of a kind. No seriously, I’m the last male white rhino on planet earth. I don’t mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me. I perform well under pressure. I like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems. 6ft tall and 5,000lbs if it matters.
Sadly, in March 2018 Sudan died in a conservancy in Kenya before meeting a new mate and having more offspring. He is however survived by his daughter and granddaughter who are the last two white rhinos on the planet. The funds raised through Sudan’s Tinder profile are aiding in efforts to resurrect the species through alternative methods.
Samboja the Orangutan: Now, Samboja’s story is a little different. Orangutans, like humans, are primates and are quite capable of swiping right. In order to help the 12-year-old female ape find a match, zookeepers at the Dutch zoo created a dating app just for orangs. Samboja is shown pictures of prospective matches and she gets to swipe right on the ones she likes. The zookeepers came up with the idea after a number of failed attempts to get the young female to mate. As it turns out, orangutans won’t just mate with anybody. They need to meet the prospect, get to know them, like them and only then will the match happen. It was getting rather expensive to ship male orangutans in just to have them rejected by Samboja, which is why she now uses the app. We wish her all the best in finding Mr. Right!
Did the creators of dating apps foresee this unconventional use of these sites? Probably not. Humans, though far from being endangered, log on by the millions daily. And while everybody might not find somebody, at least now we know that every profile makes a difference. The sheer volume of people using these sites has made awareness of the cause for endangered animals possible. Dog and cat shelters are also tying up with dating apps to help find forever homes for rescues. So, for anyone who can’t find a date, just know that your presence matters and is helping an animal somewhere have a better future.