To save axolotls, a campaign in Mexico asks people to virtually adopt them

A Mexican campaign is encouraging people to virtually adopt axolotls to prevent their extinction.

The situation: Axolotl numbers have plunged from 6,000 per square kilometer in Lake Xochimilco, Mexico City, two decades ago to around 36 per square kilometer in 2014, according to ecologist Luis Zambrano.
* Despite dwindling in the wild, axolotls have gained popularity on social media and video games, boosting demand in pet stores.
* A campaign by the National Autonomous University allows donors to virtually adopt an axolotl, with funds used for conservation efforts.

The efforts: Last year’s adoption campaign raised nearly $30,000, enough to maintain about 40 refuges, but axolotls need 10 times that number for a healthy population, Zambrano noted.
* Money raised will support efforts to improve water quality and create aquatic refuges, which have less pests and better water quality than other areas of the wetland.
* Donors can also help fund meals and habitats for axolotls.

The impact: Primary threats to axolotls come from human activities, including urbanization which degrades water quality in their habitat and introduces competing species.
* Improved water quality can also help axolotls, known for their ability to regenerate tissue and stay youthful, to improve water quality in the lake.
* Zambrano stressed the importance of societal care and action to prevent axolotls from going extinct.
View original article on NPR
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