Building the wall that Donald Trump has ordered on January 25th, as one of his first actions as US president, will put on risk more than 50 animal species that share the ecosystem along the border between the United States and Mexico, scientists from various countries have warned. Since 2006, 1,100 kilometers of barriers covering more than 30 per cent of the border between the countries have been built. The newest executive order commands the “immediate construction of a physical wall”, stating that ‘wall’ means “a physical barrier, continuous and impassable”. “It will be a big problem for wildlife”, says Jesse Lasky, researcher at Pennsylvania State University in the United States and author of a 2011 study warning that more than 50 species were endangered because of the existing separation. The study also warned that this number would increase if the barriers expanded, they are currently irregular, in various sizes and shapes. Lasky explained that separating the ecosystems of these arid areas along the border puts animals at risk because it obstructs their access to water and mating behaviour; it also reduces their hunting ground, obstruct the recolonization of certain areas and reduces the genetic diversity of separated species. The cougar, the Mexican wolf, the black bear and the porcupine are some of the endangered species along the border. There is evidence that the wall has not prevented the movement of undocumented people cross the border. A British study published in 2014 concluded that the wall restricts the movement of animals, but not people.
From SciDevNet Photo Credit John Vlahakis