Trump's wall would be a huge nightmare for animals as well.
Donald Trump has been talking about building a wall along the southern border of the United States for over a year now, but most are skeptical that it will actually happen if Trump were elected president. The construction would cost billions of dollars and he claims that he will force Mexico to pay for it, both of which are likely to go without approval.
The consequences of the wall have long focused on the impact it will have on the economy and on humans, but there are thousands of underrepresented victims who would suffer as well: wildlife that depends on moving between habitats.
With the fence that’s already standing intermittently between California and Texas, it’s already difficult for several different species to navigate between the areas they need to survive. A female bobcat that’s tracked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was recorded as roaming regularly along both sides of the fence and among 730 acres.
However, if Trump’s plan were to become a reality, this bobcat and many others would be forced to stay on one side and their lives would be in danger. David Steen, assistant research professor at Auburn University Museum of Natural History, told The Dodo,
“It is important to ensure that animals have the ability to travel across wild landscapes. Movement is important to maintain gene flow among populations and it can also help species recolonize areas where they’ve gone locally extinct.”
The United States and Mexico have joined forces to assist some species in strengthening their numbers and have succeeded in their recovery. Jon Beckmann, a scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s North America Program, wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times,
“Under the Endangered Species Act, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies have reintroduced the endangered Mexican wolf to states like New Mexico, and they are monitoring the recovery of jaguar populations in the United States. Ocelots, too, appear to be moving from Mexico back to ranges they once occupied north of the border.”
Trump’s proposal involves a very high concrete wall and would threaten the precarious species’ numbers, whose dwindling population has humans to blame in the first place. Climate change has affected the habitat for these animals, whose drinking water has lessened from droughts. Trump is already not concerned about the scientifically-proven change in the worldwide climate, so he also doesn’t believe that humans are the primary cause of the extreme changes. Beckmann explained,
“In key locations … fencing seriously hampers the movement of predators and migratory animals. For species like wolves and jaguars, which need to range widely between habitats that are susceptible to drought, this is a grave threat to survival.”
Several years ago, the first mammal went extinct strictly because of climate change, and thousands of species are following in its footsteps. With this new wall, the chances of endangerment and extinction increase dramatically. As though this were not enough to alarm protectors of the planet, Trump has also mentioned that he plans to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, wrote recently,
“This election season, those of us who are concerned about conservation, who care about the quality of our air and water, who worry about climate change and who want to protect imperiled wildlife around the world and in our own backyards MUST make our voices heard at the ballot box.”
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