Japanese Restaurants Served this Endangered Species on a Plate — Now Mexicans are Calling for Wildlife Protection
A Japanese restaurant in Yokohama, Japan caused a social media frenzy on Wednesday after pictures of their fried axolotl dish went viral. Mexican journalist Nelson Valdez posted photos showing how this restaurant serves the endangered animal— and people went wild.
The Mexican axolotl is a protected amphibian in Mexico at risk of extinction due to a loss of habitat, overfishing, and contamination of its environment. Still, the restaurant, Chinjuya, located in the second-largest city in Japan, fries and serves it on a bed of lettuce.
The Japanese restaurant prides itself in serving rare dishes
On X, the restaurant often posts about its dishes using unconventional meats like squirrel, bear, and shark. According to their posts, customers have to make reservations about a month in advance to try their dishes.
The restaurant said they were the only place in Japan to serve rare meat dishes. Pictures of the fried axolotl are no longer on their social media page.
In his posts on X, Valdez said the restaurant defended the dish by saying the axolotls are from captivities. Still, Mexicans were angered to see a beloved species served on a platter.
Researchers in Mexico are trying to save the axolotl
The axolotl’s current ecosystem is within the lakes of the Basin of Mexico, largely centered around Mexico City. Since 2002, researchers at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico’s Biological Institute have been studying ways to protect their habitat.
They have recently launched a campaign to get people to “adopt” an axolotl and help restore their natural environment. González said preserving the amphibian is part of preserving Mexican culture and making Mexico City a more resilient place in the face of climate change.