MARCH 8 2012 21:25h
Mexico City's famous gardens said dying
The gardens and canals that once were a source of food for the Aztecs are weedy and abandoned, overrun by cattle and invasive fish species, and drained dry by growing suburban sprawl. Researchers say they fear for the future of one of the wonders of the world.
When asked whether the gardens cam survive as their ecosystem crashes, a respected historian of Xochimilco expressed doubt.
"I would like to think so, but it might be impossible," Gloria Valek told The Washington Post.
The gardens have been in decline for centuries, she said, since Spanish conquistadors arrived in the early 16th century and began draining the lakes.
Today the shallow canals that once fed 50 square miles of gardens are overwhelmed by invasive fish, including African tilapia and Asian carp.
Solutions for saving the gardens are well known, said Martha Teresa Delgado, the environmental secretary for the Mexico City government, but that funding has been hard to come by and responsibility for the gardens is spread among dozens of ineffectual agencies.
And there my not be enough time left, experts say.
"Things have been bad for a long time," Luis Zambrano, a biologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said. "But now we fear that the destruction is accelerating, that within our lifetimes this very special place will no longer exist.
"It will just be a few dirty canals for the tourists and will mean nothing."
MEXICO CITY, March 8 (UPI) -- Mexico City's famous Xochimilco floating gardens are in ecological decline and dying from serious neglect, experts say.