The axolotl is critically endangered due to a small area of occupancy, fragmented distribution, and a continuing decline in habitat and number of mature individuals.
The axolotl is listed as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because its area of occupancy is less than 10 kilometers², its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat and in the number of mature individuals. Consequently, the threats facing this species are complex and not easily reversible.
This species is protected under the category Pr (Special protection) by the Government of Mexico and is in process of being amended to a higher risk category. Mexican authorities are considering placing axolotl, (under the relevant Mexican legislation NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2001,) in a risk category that best fits the current risk status of the species. This would mean its transfer from “Species under special protection” (Pr) to “Endangered” (P), thereby conferring upon the species maximum protection under Mexican legislation.
Although this species is currently on CITES Appendix II, it is currently under the process of “Periodic Review of species included in CITES Appendices”. A proposal to upgrade Ambystoma mexicanum from CITES Appendix II, (controlled international trade,) to Appendix I, (species threatened with extinction and international trade permitted only in exceptional circumstances,) is currently under review by the Mexican authorities and the Animals Committee of CITES.