Animals Take Offense At A Fence

I ran across this article, by Grist’s Sarah Laskow, a couple weeks ago:

Border fence doesn’t stop humans, just endangered species

by Sarah Laskow
12 Aug 2011 1:30 PM

The 600 or so miles of fence splitting the U.S. from Mexico hasn’t stopped immigrants from moving northward, but the fence has kept a few (non-human) endangered species from crossing the border. According to a new study, some species have had their range cut by 75 percent.


Arroyo Toad

But the affected species, which include the Arroyo toad, California red-legged frog, black-spotted newt, and Pacific pond turtle, aren’t the type that tend to incite widespread indignation on their behalf — that is, they’re reptiles and amphibians, which usually aren’t considered cute enough to worry about. There is one largish cat, the jaguarundi, which most people probably haven’t heard of, either. …

Part of the reason these species are at risk is that the fence was run through protected public land without the normal environmental protections. Customs and Border Protection has spent some money to mitigate these impacts, but Republicans want to stop them from doing that and lift environmental protections on other public border lands, as well.

Xenophobia isn’t just useless and humanly deplorable… it is also damaging to the environment and harmful to critters. The worst of it is that there is precedent in the Alaska pipeline, so this was predictable. Human barriers hundreds of miles long have known consequences for the ranges of species. Not that Republicans give a good damn…
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