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Animal House: Trump’s wall - a gravestone for wildlife

OcelotPhoto available for free media use with appropriate credit.
OcelotPhoto available for free media use with appropriate credit.

Among the many reasons U.S. President Donald Trump’s wall isn’t a good idea is the effect it would have on wildlife, including many endangered species.

People are likely to find a way to get across the border, with or without a wall, but it could mean disaster for animals like the ocelot and jaguar.

There are only two known wild jaguars in the US and they are both males who live in southern Arizona. If migration between these animals and the small population in northern Mexico is blocked, these endangered animals will never find mates.

El Jefe (Spanish for The Boss) is a large cat whose image has been captured by camera traps. He is estimated to be about seven years old and weigh approximately 155 pounds. The second jaguar is smaller and younger. The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas, usually weighing between 79 and 211 pounds, and is one of the few animals that prey on crocodiles. They have been eliminated from many areas due to habitat loss and hunting.

Another animal that would suffer if a wall was built is the ocelot. It is believed that only about 30 ocelots remain in the US and they are in southeast Texas. If they are unable to cross the border to find mates, genetic diversity will be decreased, leading to animals that are more likely to be ill.

Genetic diversity would become a problem for bighorn sheep, roadrunners, gray wolves, pronghorns, Arroyo toads and many others.

A wall would probably extend into water to prevent people from wading or swimming around it, affecting animals like the West Indian manatee. It could also affect pollination and disturb waterways.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that constructing a wall could impact 111 endangered species, 108 species of migratory bird, four wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, and an unknown number of protected wetlands. 

The freedom to move across borders is a matter of survival for many animals and if Trump’s wall were built it would simply be a giant gravestone.

People are likely to find a way to get across the border, with or without a wall, but it could mean disaster for animals like the ocelot and jaguar.

There are only two known wild jaguars in the US and they are both males who live in southern Arizona. If migration between these animals and the small population in northern Mexico is blocked, these endangered animals will never find mates.

El Jefe (Spanish for The Boss) is a large cat whose image has been captured by camera traps. He is estimated to be about seven years old and weigh approximately 155 pounds. The second jaguar is smaller and younger. The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas, usually weighing between 79 and 211 pounds, and is one of the few animals that prey on crocodiles. They have been eliminated from many areas due to habitat loss and hunting.

Another animal that would suffer if a wall was built is the ocelot. It is believed that only about 30 ocelots remain in the US and they are in southeast Texas. If they are unable to cross the border to find mates, genetic diversity will be decreased, leading to animals that are more likely to be ill.

Genetic diversity would become a problem for bighorn sheep, roadrunners, gray wolves, pronghorns, Arroyo toads and many others.

A wall would probably extend into water to prevent people from wading or swimming around it, affecting animals like the West Indian manatee. It could also affect pollination and disturb waterways.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that constructing a wall could impact 111 endangered species, 108 species of migratory bird, four wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, and an unknown number of protected wetlands. 

The freedom to move across borders is a matter of survival for many animals and if Trump’s wall were built it would simply be a giant gravestone.

El Jefe on remote-sensor camera.

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