Existing Border Fencing Already Threatens Wildlife
Washington, DC (February 6, 2017) — Last Monday, Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13th) introduced the “This Land is Our Land Act,” which would prohibit new construction of border barriers on public lands managed by the Department of Agriculture or Department of Interior. On Thursday, Representative Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM-1st) introduced the “Build Bridges Not Walls Act” in Congress, which would prohibit the implementation of President Trump’s recent executive order directing the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Existing fencing and infrastructure along the border have already severely impeded the movement of wildlife across this important section of the Western Wildway, also known as the “Spine of the Continent,” a continental wildlife corridor that runs from Mexico to Alaska. Current border infrastructure threatens the recovery of native species, including America’s only known jaguars, once widespread in the U.S., but now limited to lone males migrating from breeding populations in Mexico.
“Jaguars are just one of many species that historically roamed freely across what is now the borderlands region — maintaining connections between core habitat areas in the U.S. and Mexico is critical to long-term health and recovery of these species, said Katie Davis, western director for international conservation organization Wildlands Network.
Recent research, completed after current fencing structures were built in the wake of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, has demonstrated that while barriers prevent wildlife movement, they are unlikely to stop humans from crossing. The result has been needless deaths of both humans and wildlife across remote sections of the borderlands.
“We support these bills for the very simple reason that walls do not address border security, but are guaranteed to cause the deaths of both humans and wildlife, which is unacceptable,” said Davis.
Wildlands Network envisions a world where nature is unbroken, and where humans co-exist in harmony with the land and its wild inhabitants. Our mission is to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America so life in all its diversity can thrive.
Katie Davis, 801-560-2414, email@example.com
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