Save the axolotl!

The axolotl is a critically endangered species. The amphibian’s only natural habitat is a lake complex – what’s left of it – near Mexico City. Draining and pollution have left few if any survivors in the wild. Most live in captivity.

The Amphibian Ark is trying to save the the species, preferably in it’s habitat. Local residents Elyse MacCall and Anna Grace Uehlein helped out with a bake sale. They set up their table outside Ace Hardware store on Carroll Avenue Sunday, Aug16, taking advantage of the crowds drawn to the nearby Sunday farmers market. Their goal was not only to raise funds, but to raise awareness of the axolotl. “Admiration for axolotls – and other animals,” read their poster.

MacCall, a rising sixth grader at Takoma Park Middle School, learned about the Axolotl’s plight from a friend. She was fascinated by the unique salamanders and sad that they were endangered. She and Uehlein, who together had a similar bake-sale last year for the endangered Florida panther, agreed to raise funds for the Azolotl this summer. It was an easy decision for Uehlein, who aspires to be a marine biologist. She is a rising fifth-grader at Piney Branch Elementary School.

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Elyse MacCall and Anna Grace Uehlein’s bake sale, Sunday Aug. 16, 2015. Photos by Mary Ellsworth.

The pair are unaffiliated with a group. Theirs is an independent effort.

“We did all the baking ourselves the day before we sold everything,” said Uehlein. Sunday morning they packed baked goods, posters, table and other gear into a car, got a lift and set up in front of Ace Hardware at the heart of Takoma Old Town.

They earned $130 for the “walking fish” as the axolotl is called. They passed out literature about the Amphibian Ark, which is dedicated to “ensuring the survival and diversity of amphibian species, focusing on those that cannot currently be safe-guarded in their natural environments.” The funds raised will go to that organization.

“We will probably do this again next summer for a different animal,” said Uehlein.