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Wildlife and border walls in the USA

A video has been published on YouTube about the potential impact of a US southern border wall on wildlife populations. The video raises valid questions, but offers no solutions to the problem of wildlife populations and human populations in the area. Wildlife populations are already threatened by the current situation, so there is a lot that needs to be appraised.

The article, "Immigration, population growth, and environmentalist hypocrisy on the border fence,"quoted below, was written a decade ago by wildlife biologist Leon Kolankiewicz on behalf of Californians for Population Stabilisation (CAPS), but his argument remains relevant.

Excerpts from Immigration, population growth, and environmentalist hypocrisy on the border fence:

The border fence is indeed likely to disrupt certain wildlife populations, particularly mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The barriers may well block the movements, migration, and gene flow of ground-dwelling species. In addition, there will be a linear loss of habitat in a narrow band stretching alongside the fence.

These impacts could potentially approach those of a restricted-access Interstate highway with fencing to prevent collisions between wildlife and vehicles. Since environmentalists get riled up about building freeways across natural habitat, they are being consistent in getting riled up about the border fence.

But they are being woefully inconsistent – even hypocritical – in not getting riled up about the ecological damage caused by rampant, unsustainable American population growth that illegal immigration exacerbates. The wildlife habitat eliminated to accommodate an additional 3 million people annually is on a scale far vaster and more widespread than the border fence. And it mounts year after year with no end in sight, as long as our population continues to soar. ....

Until mainstream environmental groups prove they’d rather be environmentally correct rather than politically correct and expedient, all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the border fence can be dismissed as mimicry. Like their fellow mimics in the animal kingdom, these imposters are mimicking those who are genuinely committed to saving wildlife and wilderness.

Upon seeing the youtube, Kolankiewicz remarked:

"Barriers can indeed pose a serious problem for gene flow and population viability for some species of flora and fauna, but I think this can be mitigated to a great extent with additional expenditure and proper design features.

One suggested mitigation, I believe, is for periodic passageways, say at stream crossings, where there would have to be a minimum of a culvert anyway. These might be designed in ways to facilitate the passage of at least small animals while discouraging or preventing people from getting through them."

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Comments

Mainstream environmentalists perpetually call for environmental impact assessments of major development and construction projects, and rightly so. And they are particularly adamant that any border barrier be subjected to such a process.

But what they have not done, and will not do, is call for an environmental assessment of proposed immigration intakes.

The primary question that any credible environmentalist or conservationist in this controversy should ask is two fold: "What are the environmental costs of building a border wall?" and "What are the environmental costs of NOT building a border wall." But to pose such questions would assume that environmentalists understood that human population levels impact wildlife and wildlife habitat. It is apparent that most of them don't. And corporate-funded Green NGOs have a lot to do with that.