Save the wild Axolotl to become extinct! The Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The surviving wild population is very small. Although populations are difficult to assess, recent surveys covering almost all of its known distribution range have usually captured fewer than 100 individuals (e.g., during 2002 and 2003, more than 1,800 net casts were made along Xochimilco canals covering 39,173m² and this resulted in a catch of only 42 specimens). In a study covering a span of six years (from 1998 to 2004), axolotl density had reduced from 0.006-org/ m2 to 0.001-org/ m2, although it is thought that this reduction could also be due to its own population dynamics (Zambrano 2006). A recent scientific survey revealed no axolotls, although wild-caught animals are still found in the local market, which indicates that fishermen still know where to find them. There has not been a density study of the Chalco population, but evidence suggests that the population there is small and, furthermore, Chalco is a highly unstable system that runs the risk of disappearing in the near future.
desiccation and pollution of the canal system and lakes in Xochimilco and Chalco, as a result of urbanization, as well as the traditional consumption of the species by local people, is threatening the survival of this species. Increased tourist activity is poorly regulated and adds further pollution (Zambrano, 2006). The species is also captured for medicinal purposes. The harvesting is targeted at animals that are less than one year old. It was formerly also captured for the international pet trade, although probably all animals in the international trade are now of captive origin. Introduced fishes (tilapia and carp) have increased to high abundances (a recent study collected 600kg of tilapia in one small channel using a 100m net) and have also impacted axolotls through competition and predation. The animals are also being affected by disease, probably spread by invasive species, and as a result of poor water quality. Although the water regime has changed in the last 10 years, and it is reported that pollution levels are decreasing, factors such as very high levels of bacterial contamination could still pose a serious threat.
Dear Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources in Mexico , Juan Rafael,
We know you already invested money and resources to help save the Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) in his natural habitat. But more needs to be done. The Axolotl has been listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2010 and according to most recent reports, seems to be almost extinct.
Your continuing efforts to keep this species alive in its natural habitat are crucially important. Please help diminishing pollution of its habitat, help the Axolotl breeding projects and their efforts to keep a sanctuary for this astonishing species on the brink of extinction in the wild.
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