Axolotls are fascinating creatures and superheroes of the amphibian world. They have always been known for their extraordinary power to regenerate their body parts, a very rare ability. However, despite their fascinating looks and incredible abilities, Axolotls are presently facing extinction and are on the verge of becoming completely extinct. Some of their dangerous enemy in the form of habitat loss, pollution, invasive species, and over-exploitation are continuously lessening Axoltol’s number.
Axolotls are native to the Xochimilco canals of Mexico City. However, even their most natural habitat from where they originate is rapidly disappearing. These creatures now have nowhere to go, and even a shift of habitat isn’t of any great help. What is disturbing their existence in Mexico City is canal water is now polluted with chemicals and litter. Axolotls are freshwater amphibians, and this toxic environment isn’t healthy for these salamanders. And to even worsen it, invasive species, including carp and tilapia, have been found in the canals. Both these animals are preying on the axolotls and competing for resources making their existence even more difficult.
Join us to learn more about Axolotls and what is making these amphibians critically endangered.
Axolotls- An Introduction
Axolotls, or the Peter Pan of the animal kingdom, have gathered enough attention for quite a lot of years now. These captivating creatures are known for their ability to regenerate their organs and remain in a juvenile state for life. Axolotls are a type of salamander that have been studied for their potential use in medical research.
However, Axolotls are facing a critical threat of extinction today. This is happening due to habitat loss, pollution, and overexploitation. Presently, it is very important to take action and protect these amazing creatures. Doing so is important to ensure their survival for future generations.
Where Are Axolotls Found In the Wild?
Axolotls are exclusively found in the Xochimilco Lake complex near Mexico City, their natural habitat in the Wild. Their appearing home basically comprises Lake Xochimilco and a network of man-made canals and waterways. All of these intersect throughout Mexico City. Axolotls live in a high-altitude region where the average water temperature is around 20°C. The water temperature stays the same even during winter months, ideal for these neotenic creatures.
Since they were recognized, and maybe even before, Axolotls have been an important part of Mexican culture. They are addressed in the local mythology as creatures as an embodiment of an Aztec god. He is believed to have transformed himself into a salamander to avoid being sacrificed. Besides this belief, Axolotls are also a local delicacy in Mexico City amongst some local indigenous communities. Presently to involve them in food items, Overfishing has contributed to Axolotl’s critically endangered status.
Why Are Axolotls Endangered?
Axolotls are fascinating and unique creatures that are not on the verge of extinction. They have played an important role in Mexican mythology but are now lessening in number rapidly.
According to the IUCN conservation index, Axolotls are critically endangered. The sharp decline in their number is a real threat leading to them going extinct in the near future. A study by Mexican biologist Luis Zambrano revealed that there were 6,000 axolotls per square kilometer in the Xochimilco Lake complex in 1998. However, this number has declined today, and there are chances of only a very hundred Axolotls being in the Wild today.
The decline in the number of Axolotls is due to several factors. Firstly, the rapid development of Mexico City has increased water pollution within the Xochimilco network. This led to making some areas in the Canal inhospitable for aquatic life. Another major factor is Overfishing, which has become another biggest threat to axolotl numbers. It is due to their consumption as a delicacy on the rise. Besides that, the introduction of invasive species and climate change are also contributing to the decline of Axolotl populations.
Presently, more than that in the Wild, there are now more axolotls in captivity. However, keeping Axolotls in captivity isn’t a solution to keep their population intact. In order to save them from extinction, several renewed efforts are taken. These creatures are placed in strategic positions around Mexico City’s canals. Biologists and scientists are working on different projects with the aim of reintroducing lab-bred individuals back into Xochimilco. This will encourage natural breeding and thus may boost the numbers of Axolotls. However, the success of this particular effort is yet not measured.
Why are Declining Axolotl Populations Concerning?
The declining axolotl populations are concerning for a lot of reasons. Axolotls are among the most studied freshwater creatures in the world. Scientists and researchers claim that Axoltols are unique, and their genetic makeup gives more ideas for learning. Their ability to regenerate limbs and stay in their juvenile state forever in life has kept researchers’ curiosity. Scientists believe that Axolotols may have great value for human medicine. They may also be used in the treatment of certain degenerative diseases.
Besides that, the inbreeding of axolotls in captivity have impacted their long-term health and genetic characteristics. This will weaken their value from a biological standpoint. The number of inbred animals can also negatively impact their conservation efforts, including diseases and deficiencies. In addition, until significant conservative efforts are made to safeguard axolotls in the Wild, the species will continue to face a real and imminent threat of disappearing. Not only Axolotls but their natural habitat is also reduced due to the explosion of Mexico City’s population. Also, invasive species and pollution have contributed to the same.
Axoloitls are a microcosm of conservation in the 21st century. Nevertheless, conservation is key to the future of this unique and remarkable species.
How Many Axolotls Are Present In Wild Today?
Presently there are only 700 to 1200 Axolotls left in the Wild. According to some concerns, their population may be even lower now. Axolotls haven’t been seen in some areas of Mexico City for over a year now. The decline in axolotl populations is a cause for concern as Axolotls face an imminent threat of disappearing.
How Many Axolotls Are Present In Captivity Today?
According to an estimate, there would be roughly as many as 1 million Axolotls in captivity worldwide. Not only as pets, but Axolotls are kept in research labs, universities, and private collections as well.
Axolotls, though, are native to Mexico City, but they are also popular in many countries as pets and research animals. They are found in areas of the United States and the United Kingdom, Japan, and China. Besides these countries, Axolotls are also found in captivity in many other cities of the world. There are multiple axolotls in captivity due to their popularity as research animals.
What Would Be The Impact If Axolotls are Extinct?
The extinction of axolotls can have several significant scientific and ecological impacts. Axolotls are crucial in scientific research, all thanks to their unique regenerative abilities. Scientists believe that this can potentially lead to breakthroughs in human medical treatments. If we lose Axolotls, we may also lose the significant potential for medical advancement.
Apart from that, ecologically, Axolotls are important in the aquatic ecosystem. Axolotls are apex predators who help maintain the balance in their natural habitat. They keep a population check of smaller organisms. Their extinction could potentially lead to an overpopulation of these smaller organisms. It can further have detrimental effects on other species in the ecosystem.
Axolotls are also a part of the cultural heritage of Mexico. They are deeply ingrained in the history and mythology of the city. The Aztecs inhabited this region before the Spanish conquest, and centuries before, they viewed axolotls as symbols of transformation and healing. If we lose Axoltols today, we will lose a significant cultural heritage and identity for the Mexican people.
Lastly, losing axolotls also means loss of biodiversity. They are essential for maintaining the health and resilience of ecosystems. Losing them will have a ripple effect on the ecosystem.
How Can We Save Axolotls?
Saving the Axolotl from extinction will require a multifaceted approach. It is important to address the immediate threats these creatures face in Mexico City’s canals. Protecting wetlands and controlling the introduction of invasive species will improve their condition in the Wild.
However, doing so will require cooperation from government agencies, conservation organizations, and local communities. Another important thing that can be done is to support captive breeding programs. Doing so will help preserve genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding. Programs like these will serve as a source for reintroducing axolotls in their natural habitat.
Public awareness campaigns have always been helpful in the majority of such causes and so will be in saving Axolotls. As we will educate people about the importance of preserving Axolotls, the threats will significantly reduce. Besides that, scientific research can help unlock the secrets of the Axolotl’s remarkable regenerative abilities. Theirs is yet a lot to learn if this ability can help in saving the extinction of Axolotl species.
Ultimately, saving the Axolotl from extinction will require a long-term commitment. Individuals, communities, and governments will have to come together and make equal efforts. The right combination of conservation efforts can possibly preserve this fascinating species for future generations.
Hi, I’m Mike, and I’m the creator of amphibianlife.com. If there was one word to describe it? It would be: passionate about Amphibians! Whether you want to know more about amphibians or have a presentation to give at school, you’ve come to the right place.