SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico - The Southwest Environmental Center set up a trip Saturday with several dozen people to take a look at the border barriers , and their effect on wildlife in the borderplex.
“This is the pedestrian fencing kind of design, and this is the worst kind for wildlife,” said Kevin Bixby, Executive Director of the Southwest Environmental Center.
About 700 miles of the 2000 mile border have some kind of barrier, which the Southwest Environmental Center says is hurting wildlife, not letting them travel freely in search of food, water, and mates
“Some animals could squeeze through there, rodents rabbits, lizards, snakes...I've seen existing pedestrian fencing along the border where these gaps do not exist,” Bixby said.
A new type of fencing at Sunland Park and Anapra has gaps that allow smaller animals to get through, but it may not be enough for larger animals in other parts of the border.
“Mexican wolves are extremely endangered. There are only about 113 in the wild in the US side, 35 or so in Mexico...They need to be able to maintain that genetic connection by being able to interbreed with each other,” Bixby explained.
The issue isn’t only with population that are at risk today, it could lead to problems with healthy animals in the future.
“When we put up a barrier like this it fragments populations, and it makes those smaller populations more vulnerable to extinction,” said Bixby.
A risk Bixby says could be increased, if gapped fencing is replaced with solid concrete.