The wildlife and the environment against the wall

On the 25 of january 2016, the American president Donald Trump signed a decree in favor of the construction of a wall at the border between the USA and Mexico. It’s the first stage of his immigration reform plan.

The American president wants to provide illegal immigration and put an end to the drug traffic coming from Mexico. His project was a public outcry among humanitarian organizations. Two years later, the American president stays on his positions. On Tuesday 9th of January, he pleaded for the founding of the “wall” that he wants to build on the Mexico border. If a humanitarian disaster is very likely, the ecological risk is -though real- less considered.


Eight prototypes in construction phase by six American companies in the San Diego area. (© Frédéric J. Brown/ AFP)

What do the animals living in this area risk if the project materialize ?

Restriction of the animals natural living environment

One of the threats against the wildlife is the loss of a significant space required for his development and survival. Already highly diminished by the 1 046 kilometers long wall erected by the George W. Bush administration in 2006, the Trump wall will extend on 3 200 kilometers long, from 10 to 20 meters high.

The extension of the wall would endanger the animals living on one or the other side of the border as wolves, hares, mouflons, stags etc. Those would see their hunting perimeter highly reduced and would be forbidden with majors migration paths. A report shows that more than 100 species would be threatened by the American president wall.

Animals way of life deviated

Unfortunately, the physical imprisonment is far from being the only disadvantage. On one side, the elaboration of the wall requires roads constructions which implies the presence of trucks and workers. The construction of a wall would generates many harmful particles for the animals, so much as aerial pollution as visual and noise pollution. On the other side, the majority of those animals have the habit of freely move on both sides of the border to find a shelter, mate or feed themselves. With the wall, their travel will be limited and the consequences will be catastrophic.

A grey wolf near the border between Mexico and the USA. (© Miguel Angel Grageda/AFP)

The population of grey wolves from Mexico is already very limited, and they might become inbreeded if they can’t pass the border to find females. It would then cause a depletion of the genetic diversity.

Birds crossing the wall between Mexico and the USA (© Bloomberg, Getty Images)

Flying species would be also destabilized by the wall. The Monarque butterfly, which hibernate in Mexico will be disoriented because the wall could disturb markers required by this insect. Moreover, lights present on all of human constructions impact the usual migratory paths of birds.

Extinction of some animal species

The most tragic consequence on the wildlife would be the creation of a “no animal’s land”. Probated from their freedom to move these animals would be forced to disappear.

The most impacted by this wall would be the big endemic mammals already endangered as the Sonora antelope or the mouflon. Black bears, jaguars, owls and stags as well. The small population of jaguars in the USA depends of their neighbors arrival from Mexico to breed.

What are the consequences on the environment ?

If the wall came to be built between the two countries, his effects would be just as harmful on the plants. Indeed, the border crosses biodiversity areas very lush : for example the Rio Grande valley shelters 700 vertebrate species, and in the south west, mountains shelters endemic animal and vegetal species.

Furthermore, the building of the wall would modify the border’s watercourses, whose passing would be blocked between the two countries, risking flooding. Plants could also be affected. The water being blocked by the wall, they would dry and die.

And you, what can you do ?

React ! The state of California sued the government because it feels that the Trump administration is violating the American constitution along with the Californian environmental law. You too, react, talk about it, comment and share your viewpoint. The more we are to react, the more our voices will be heard.

Support associations protecting the wildlife and the environment such as U.S Fish and Wildlife Service which works to handle and preserve the wildlife in the United States, and also Reporterre, the newspaper about ecology. The most important is to rally ourselves to express our indignation towards the actions of a climate skeptical president.


Marjorie de Larichaudy, EVI editor.