Named for an Aztec God, This Species Is Critically Endangered

October 10, 2016 – The axolotyl is one of the few animals on earth that can regenerate parts of its body. Native to Mexico, the axolotl is an unusual amphibian that has deep roots in Aztec mythology. According to legend, this “water monster” was a god who disguised himself as a salamander to avoid sacrifice. Nowadays, it is critically endangered in the wild because of the pollution and urban sprawl that threaten its habitat in the Mexican Basin.

Scientists and local people have joined together to save the axolotl from extinction. Through a breeding program, new colonies of axolotls are released into a restricted area where they can thrive under close monitoring. The hope is for this species to repopulate and survive in its natural environment.

Read "Watch How Bizarre 'Water Monsters' Get a Second Chance" on National Geographic News.

Learn more about the axolotl.