If Trump’s proposed US-Mexico border wall goes ahead, then the US must be prepared to wave goodbye to its populations of jaguars, wolves, bears, and even its bald eagles, whose habitats dot the nearly 2,000-mile divide, according to a new report.
It’s no secret that Trump’s administration doesn’t seem to rate the safety and longevity of animal species in the US very highly. From selling off national parks that include designated habitats to reintroducing previously banned barbaric methods of hunting and unabashedly trying to repeal the endangered species act, the government's views are quite clear.
The new study from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) echoes previous findings from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that had the number of endangered species detrimentally affected by the wall at 111, whereas a study by the Mexican National Autonomous University places the number as high as 800.
“Trump’s border wall is a disaster for people and wildlife alike,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the CBD, in a statement. “It could drive magnificent species like the jaguar and ocelot to extinction in the United States.”
The 1,900-mile border features a multitude of ecosystems, from jungles and mountains to rivers and deserts, that thousands of animals cross every day. Placing a solid concrete and metal wall slap bang in the middle of these habitats cuts off important corridors, cuts roaming ranges in half, disrupts migration patterns, reduces genetic diversity through breeding opportunities, and will result in the breakdown of these delicate ecosystems.
Over 700 species of mammals, birds, and insects cross the border ever year in their annual migrations, including jaguars, Mexican gray wolves, ocelots, black bears, prairie dogs, American bison, North American porcupine, American armadillo, and the American badger, to name just a few. The Sonoran pronghorn, of which there are only 160 left in the US and only found in the border area, is all but guaranteed to be wiped out.
For migratory birds, a physical barrier upsets the ecosystems on either side that provide food and breeding habitats, while the infrastructure and enforcement along the wall will add noise and light pollution. Those identified as likely to be affected include pygmy owls, hummingbirds, parrots, golden and bald eagles, Mexican quail, wild turkeys, gray hawks, and condors.
The CBD argues that there is overwhelming evidence that the wall will cause more harm than good for the United States.
“The border wall won’t be effective at stopping people seeking a better life from getting to this country, but it will destroy habitat and divide wildlife populations,” Greenwald said. “Building a wall across the entirety of the border would cause massive damage to one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America and would be a boondoggle of the highest order.”