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Mexico’s allusive ajolote salamander, also known as the Mexican axolotl or Ambystoma mexicanum, which is currently on the brink of extinction, can be found inside Mexico City’s street markets, for sale to the highest bidder as a pet.

That is the news based on a report carried in the Mexican daily newspaper Reforma on Tuesday, July 26.

Despite the fact that the ajolote has been deemed “critically endangered” by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and that sales of the indigenous Mexican amphibian are illegal, specimens of the little tadpole-like creature can be purchased across the capital city for about 750 pesos, the Reforma report said.

The ajolote, found only in the  Valley of Mexico, has the unusual characteristic of retaining its larval features in its adult life, making it extremely cute and, thus, attractive as a pet for unscrupulous buyers.

According to the Reforma report, ajolotes were found for sale in the Nuevo San Lázaro Market in Magdalena Mixhuca, where vendors purported to have a government permit to sell the salamanders.

But in accordance with Article 420 of the Federal Criminal Code, thetrafficking, capture, possession, transportation or extraction from the country of any ajolote carries a penalty of one to nine years in prison and a fine of the equivalent of 300 to 3.000 minimum days salaries.


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