Endangered Mexican Animals

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The Mexican wolf is just one of Mexico's critically endangered species.
The Mexican wolf is just one of Mexico's critically endangered species.

Mexican wildlife services have been working in close conjunction with international endangered species organizations to help bring back populations of threatened and endangered species endemic to the nation. While the list of species is unfortunately long, progress has been made in many areas and the Mexican government is working to educate citizens about wildlife to help reduce primary threats, such as poaching and habitat destruction.

  1. Mexican Wolf

    • This small subspecies of gray wolf is one of the most endangered animals on the planet, with a sad history of habitat destruction, poaching, and government-sponsored extermination campaigns. Officially declared an endangered species in 1973, the wolf had already been all but eliminated from Mexico itself. Reintroduction campaigns have had slow and shaky progress since the mid-1990s, and approximately 50 wolves have been released into reservations in southern Arizona and New Mexico.

    Mexican Prairie Dog

    • The Mexican prairie dog is the southernmost species of prairie dog, and once ranged across most of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi and even as far as Zacatecas, Mexico. Today, their range is extremely limited, largely due to destruction of habitat for agriculture and cattle ranges. Wild colonies were reported in the hundreds at one time, but counts as of 1980 discovered average numbers generally closer to fifty animals per group.

    Axolotl

    • The critically endangered axolotl is native to only the Xochimilco lake and its surrounding canal systems near Mexico City. These large salamanders are unique in that they retain their larval features for their entire lives, breathing through exposed gills which extend from behind their heads. Because the axolotl evolved as a top predator in the lake, competition and predation from introduced species of fish and birds have been particularly devastating. Exports for the pet trade have furthered the decline of the species, and in some regions the axolotl is even eaten as a delicacy, making preservation difficult.

    Island Rodents

    • A large portion of the endangered animals in Mexico are other species of rodents. The islands off both coasts of Mexico have steadily been developed as tourist destinations, and both destruction of natural habitat here---combined with specific efforts to eliminate pest species of rodent---has resulted in the near extinction of more than a dozen rodent species endemic to the islands near Cozumel and southern Baja California. Among these are the San Martin Island woodrat, San Quintin kangaroo rat, several species of pocket gopher, and several island jackrabbit species. Conservation efforts are hindered by the very specific ecology of each island.

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  • Photo Credit Wolf image by Petra Kohlstädt from Fotolia.com

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