By: Melissa Davila Castro
Summary: During President Trump's campaign run back in 2016, an infamous line used by his campaign was “Build the Wall”. Since then the border wall has grown to be about 650 miles long but Trump has called for a 1,000 mile long wall. Although the purpose of the wall was to keep people out, unintentionally wildlife has also been affected. Habitats that are important for wildlife have been disrupted along the border line even though Trump's administration has claimed they would provide sustainable practises throughout the building of the wall, Congress has waived the construction on obeying the Endangered Species Act along with several other acts that jeopardize the well being of stable species in the area. Along with this, animals will be cut off from one another therefore limiting breeding which can be detrimental to endangered species and can cause a chain reaction through the food chain of the species that are separated, migration patterns for animal births have been disrupted, light pollution caused from the shading of the wall can mess with the sleeping patterns of nocturnal insects and animals, wildlife refugees will be divided, and tourism money gained from the ecosystem that lives in this area will be lost. Animals that have the ability to fly are also affected by the border wall because the height some of the birds can achieve is not enough to surpass the wall therefore affecting migration and breeding patterns for several different bird species. Although there are small animals that can get through the lower crevices that the wall has put in place in order to combat these wildlife issues, the majority of animals are still negatively affected.
Why we should care? We should care about this topic because we are actively damaging environments that we have previously worked to protect. Several Acts have been waived in order to continue with the construction of the wall.
I found this particular article interesting because it shows how the U.S Fish and Wildlife Services has worked to buy land along the Mexico/US border in order to protect the habitats in the area, this area now known as the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge has seen population increases in several animals including white-tail deer. Due to the fact that the U.S Fish and Wildlife Services is a federal agency, Trump's organization went after them first in order to acquire land to build on therefore avoiding privately owned land in the area. Along with the U.S taking some of this land to build the wall on, the animals that live in this area are at a higher risk of drowning if the wall is built because the area tends to flood. There is a construction idea to put gates on the wall that will be lifted when the area floods in order to prevent the animals from drowning but the idea is expensive and most likely will not be done. With this, if the idea of a gate on the wall were to be done, animals would still be separated from their water supplies therefore there is no good alternative other then not building the wall.
Science in Action.
Dr. Gerardo Ceballos is a Professor of Ecology at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).
Gerardo Ceballos along with other scientists researched the effects that building a longer border wall will have on the wildlife living in the area. This research consisted of the environmental laws that are being bypassed, the harmful effects that destroying wildlife habitat can have on the animals and land, the limits the wall will create for wildlife research and conservation because the border wall is being build over some endangered species conservation land, and the overall loss of biodiversity from the land that will occur if species are separated. I believe this is relevant to the blog post because it further pushes the narrative that the construction of the border wall is only causing harm to the ecosystem surrounding it and that the efforts that the U.S Fish and Wildlife Services did in order to protect the biodiversity living in this area should be respected and take care of and not be easily ignored like it has been.