Did you know that there is axolotl day? One of the ‘chilangos’ animals par excellence commemorates its day every February 1 to raise awareness of the importance of the axolotl, both culturally and as a species.
In Aztec mythology this species symbolized movement and life. It is a type of salamander that only exists in the 180 kilometers of the Xochimilco canals, in Mexico City.
With large eyes, a face that resembles a deep and ‘eternal’ smile and its bright colors, the axolotl has become a protected species, since it has been on the Red List of threatened species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2019.
Its cultural and biological relevance emphasizes the role played by society as a whole, in the current strategies for the preservation of this species that is in danger of extinction.
Here we share some projects dedicated to the conservation of this endemic species of the Valley of Mexico Basin, as well as others who talk about the impact of the axolotl on the culture of our country.
The National Axolotl Museum is a project that began in 2017 with the aim of preserving and disseminating information about the importance and rescue of the axolotl, seeking that anyone who wishes to have a close encounter with the species regardless of their age, language or profession. .
Among the activities that the place develops are shelter and care of specimens, environmental education, medical network, biocultural tours, pedagogical and creative collaborations, in addition to the creation of the first National Axolotl Museum.
It should be noted that the museum is a project that is still in the process of raising funds to make this place possible, where it is intended to disseminate visual arts, crafts and workshops, as well as create a center for research and care of specimens, and hold events for its conservation.
Axolotl Sanctuary Planet, Biodiversity and Society
Located in the Xochimilco lake area, this project was created to support the preservation of endemic species in danger of extinction in the Xochimilco area, such as the axolotls.
Being a non-profit organization, and not having government support for its maintenance, the place offers its space for cultural events, family birthdays, lunadas and/or evenings.
With a space within a chinampa suitable as a laboratory to work on the reproduction, maintenance and conservation of the axolotl, Umbral Axochiatl has managed to have spawning, hatchlings, juveniles and currently adult specimens in its space.
It is located in the chinampera zone of Xochimilco, and since 1995 it began its work hand in hand with academic and governmental institutions, as well as local or external social organizations. In fact, it also works with other species, such as the black frog, the acocil, the charal, in addition to producing live food.
Biological and Aquacultural Research Center of Cuemanco (CIBAC)
The Biological and Aquacultural Research Center of Cuemanco belonged to a project of the Xochimilco Mayor’s Office (previously a delegation), but later the rights were transferred to the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) Xoxhimilco to use the physical space and continue the conservation work of local species.
Among the animals that are part of the center is precisely the axolotl, where its conservation and reproduction is sought to avoid its extinction. The place offers guided tours in order to educate the population and to learn more about the capital’s endemic animal.
50 peso bill
The importance of this species reached Banxico, where last October they announced the new presentation of bills of different denominations. Among them is the 50 peso bill, which now, among the images it has, is that of the chilango animal.
The Foundation of Tenochtitlan is the main ‘theme’ of the new bill, which is why it contains the image of an axolotl and corn, as well as the ecosystem of rivers and lakes of Xochimilco, where the species originates.
My friend Axolotl
Unlike the previous projects, Mi Amigo Axolote is a project that arises in the midst of the digital age. As he explains on his Facebook page, “was born out of love and fascination for the endemic axolotls of Mexico, creating designs and illustrations to immortalize these beautiful amphibians in different objects.”
Behind this project is José Guadalupe Mancilla, who in addition to making illustrations, also makes jewelry and even chocolates where the axolotl is the protagonist. It began in 2019, and to date it already has thousands of followers on its social networks.
His creations are generally sold through his pages, but he also attends bazaars, where you can buy t-shirts or prints of the Axolotl.