An unusual creature known as the “walking fish” or “water monster” may be on the brink of extinction in the wild, scientists have warned.
Armando Tovar Garza, a biologist at the National Autonomous University in Mexico, said on Tuesday that the exotic salamander-like axolotl “is in serious risk of disappearing” from its only known natural habitat in a handful of lakes around Mexico.
The slim body, wide gills, and curling mouth have led the species to get a name the ‘water monster’, but it is still significant for nature lovers. The species is also called the Walking Fish.
Lake Xochimilco is the only place in the wild that provides the axolotl their habitat. But heavy pollution and expanding urban reach have put the animal’s survival in jeopardy. Biologist Luis Zambrano of Mexico’s National Autonomous University has said that researchers are looking forward to a second three-month hunt for the creatures. The creatures will be able to survive in labs and breeding tanks.
A survey was conducted in 1988 of the Mexico City, which had found over 6,000 axolotls within a single square kilometer, said the Mexican Academy of Sciences. Since then, the number of axolotls has rapidly declined within a single square kilometer. Less than 15 years after the survey was conducted, the numbers of axolotls within a single square kilometer came down to 1,000 by 2008.
Experts have said it’s not right to assume that the Mexico water monster has reached extinction. However, if brakes will not be put on pollution and urban sprawl, the animal will surely disappear.