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President Trump's Wall Would Be a Disaster For The Environment

The Rio Grande Valley is rich with biodiversity.

SCIENCE AF STAFF
16 APR 2018
 

President Trump has promised to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, but in a region rich with biodiversity, Trump's wall raises an important question: when we design borders to divide people, what happens to the natural world around them?

 

A new video from Vox explores how Trump's border wall could disrupt nature and threaten biodiversity in the region.

The US-Mexico border is home to an incredible variety of species, including many rare and endangered amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, animal diversity is especially rich. The river here forms a natural border, which means that a wall would have to sit on one side of the waterway. As you can imagine, this poses a unique problem for animal movement.

Firstly, when the river floods during rainy season in this region, animals must move to safety. If a wall is built, it will inevitably act like a dam, trapping these animals between a rising river and an insurmountable barrier.

Secondly, the wall would split up gene pools. This would inevitably reduce genetic diversity in animal populations, ultimately endangering the future of these species.

The endangered ocelot is the perfect example of this. The ocelot is now limited to just two populations, one in Mexico and one in the US.

The border wall along the US-Mexico border has already been linked to a decrease in ocelot population and diversity. If even more barriers are put up, this species could be doomed to extinction.

 

Besides - even if gaps are placed along the wall for animals like the ocelot, the harsh light from the barrier and the loss of vegetation around the barrier will most likely dissuade species from crossing.

But even though the science suggests that a border wall would be detrimental to the environment in this region, the future for the Rio Grande Valley looks grim.

Environmental laws are waived for border wall projects, which means that the US government can build a wall anytime and anywhere without any restrictions.

The only restrictions will be those placed on the animals of the region.