New Minecraft Update Brings Awareness to Near Extinct Creature

This article was originally published on November 7, 2020.

Over the past few years, the Minecraft community has seen some amazing updates, including the aquatic update 1.13 in 2017 with new animals; these varying from turtles and tropical fish to coral reefs. After releasing other updates like village and pillage with new villager types and the nether update which was also greatly received, this year, they have announced the greatly awaited and anticipated caves and cliffs update. This update brings new cave biomes and mobs, or animals that spawn in the world, also including a new generation of the caves and cliffs in the player’s Minecraft world.

One of the new cave biomes, the lush caves, which feature new green blocks and plants, comes a new creature called the axolotl, which is based on the real-life animal that is facing extinction. Though many details are not out about the mob since they plan to release it next year, they have said that they are neutral mobs, meaning that they won’t hit you unless you hit them first, they will come in different colors, and they are collectible in buckets for the players to tame. They can also be used in combat against one of the bosses, the elder guardian which is found in an underwater temple, and when they lose a lot of health, they can pretend to play dead and possibly heal the player. Mojang has included this animal in its new update to bring attention to its current state in the wild where there are only 700-1200 left in the world due to habitat loss and degeneration of its natural homes. Along with this update, mountain goats, which can ram other animals and players and a new cave-boss, have also come along. The warden, who is another mob who is blind, can deal a great amount of damage even when the player is covered in the best armor in the game, Netherite.

The creators of Minecraft have mentioned how they want to keep adding more animals and mobs into the game because they want to increase awareness about their extinction. They have done this before when they implemented pandas in 2018 along with bamboo that you can harvest and craft items within the game. You can see pandas in their biomes rolling about and eating bamboo with their young. The aquatic update also in 2018 brought fish, which are also losing habitat due to pollution, and turtles, which you can breed to grow your own baby turtle. As the babies grow in their natural habitat, beach biomes, they drop scutes which can be used to create water breathing helmets. Earlier this year they also introduced the buzzy bee update that included bees and bee-related blocks like honey blocks, beehives, bee nests, etc. They included bees to spread awareness of the climate change and also habitat loss these important insects are facing. They were able to do all of this in partnership with the WWF, which is the World Wildlife Fund that works to help stop the degradation of the environment

Popular Minecraft Youtuber, Dream, has talked about why sharks, which are also going extinct, might not be in the game. This has been on many players’ minds since the aquatic update excluded them, and many shark mods, or downloaded fan-made game add-ons of sharks are popular. He concludes that it might be due to the wide audience for Minecraft, which is mostly kids, and that Minecraft only includes animals that are cute in the real world or are complete fantasy, like the warden and ender dragon which is found in the end dimension or end of the game.

Overall, Minecraft’s efforts to spread awareness about the animals of the real world through a game that was and is part of many people’s childhood is one of the wholesome ways that the world is becoming a better place.