Proudly inspired in Mexico! This member of the Baxalam family is a bunny called Zacato, in honor of the Teporingo. The Teporingo is an endemic rabbit from Mexico that lives in the slopes of the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuátl, as well as in the Xinantécatl woods, in the Nevado de Toluca. As we read the Aztec legend “The rabbit in the moon” (below) we couldn’t avoid imagining that maybe Quetzalcóatl had met a Teporingo, a rabbit so full of kindness that gave up his life to save someone else’s. Today the Teporingo is in risk of being extinct, although some say that he already is. In September 2018, the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM) informed that the Teporingo Rabbit also known as “Zacatuche” was extinct after years of being threatened.
Through a study published in 2017, the Research Center of Biological Sciences explained that its extinction was consequence of the pollution, deforestation, forest fires, grazing and extraction of wood, which reduced its habitat.
The Teporingos were commercialized for human consumption and for hunting in the forest areas of the Estado de México. The rabbit served as food for the coyote and lynx, and therefore its extinction alters the eating habits of other species.
Now for those who are not familiar with the Aztec legend “The rabbit in the moon”…
One day, hundreds of years ago, the god Quetzalcoátl decided to travel the world. He was a God in the form of a snake decorated with green and golden feathers. In order not to be recognized, he descended in the shape of a human and started his journey.
He walked over mountains and through thick woods with no rest. At the end of the journey, he felt exhausted. He had walked so much, he decided to rest and recover. Satisfied by all that he had seen, he sat on a rock and enjoyed the peace and quiet provided by nature.
It was a warm summer night. Twinkling stars covered the sky like a huge mantle of diamonds, and beside them, shined an orange moon as if it were watching him from above. Quetzalcóatl thought that that was the most beautiful image he had ever seen in his life.
After a while, he realized there was a rabbit beside him, looking right at him while he chewed something with his teeth.
– What are you eating rabbit?
– Just Zacate (fresh herbs). If you want, I can share some with you. .
– I appreciate it, but we humans don’t eat Zacate.
– But then, what will you eat? You look tired and hungry.
– You’re right. I imagine that if I don’t find anything to eat I will probably die.
The rabbit felt terrible. He couldn’t let that happen! After giving it a little bit of thought, and in an act of generosity, the rabbit offered himself to the god Quetzalcóatl.
– I’m only a small rabbit, but f you’d like, you can eat me. This way, you can survive.
The god was incredibly moved by the kindness of this tiny animal. He was sacrificing his life to save him.
– Your words touch me – said Quetzalcóatl, while petting the rabbits head – As of today, you will always be remembered. You deserve at least this for being so kind.
Taking the rabbits arm, he carried him so high until the figure of the rabbit was pressed onto the moon. Afterwards, very carefully, Quetzalcóatl put the rabbit down so he could look at his own image on the moon.
– There is your picture in light, for all men and for all times.
His promise was kept. Up until today, on a clear night, you can see the silhouette of the kind rabbit on the moon.