Google has a mission for you: Find the axolotls of Lake Xochimilco.
This May 20, the Internet search engine pays tribute to one of the most important cultural and natural symbols of Mexico City through a fun doodle accompanied by an interactive game.
Work is easy. All you have to do is look for five axolotls in the depths of the lake, every time you spot one of these amphibians you must take a picture.
During the water walk, the game will reveal some interesting facts about this species which is in serious danger of extinction.
But not only that, you will also be able to learn more about the creatures that live in Lake Xochimilco.
On this day in 1920, the Mexican government returned Lake Xochimilco to the local people.
Lake Xochimilco now serves as a recreational site, cultural attraction and home to a rare species of axolotls.
Due to the unique landscape of Lake Xochimilco, local farmers adopted the ancient Chinampa farming method, which includes artificial floating gardens. These chinamperos (or farmers) grow hundreds of different aquatic plants, from common vegetables to medicinal herbs, in nutrient-rich soil.
It is also a popular destination for rowing and kayaking: sailing in colorful wooden boats called trajineras is an essential pastime on the lake.
Lake Xochimilco is also currently the last remaining native habitat on Earth for axolotls, freshwater salamanders that live in water rather than on land. Their mouths are permanently upturned with a slight smile, and they can regrow their limbs, gills, even parts of their eyes and brains!
Unfortunately, these delicate creatures were listed as a critically endangered species in 2008. The axolotl is so revered culturally in Mexico that the Bank of Mexico added the salamander to the country’s 50-peso bill in 2021.