FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2006
Contact: Michael Finkelstein, Executive Director, CBD, (520) 623-5252 ext. 301
“Berlin Wall” Across U.S.-Mexico Border
Tucson, Ariz. – The Center for Biological Diversity condemned a proposal that is before the U.S. Senate to build a massive series of fences and walls over 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, calling the plan a colossal environmental disaster and declaring that it will not stem the tide of illegal immigration.
“The only living things the walls won’t stop are people,” said Michael Finkelstein, Executive Director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Jaguars, Mexican Gray Wolves, Peninsular Bighorn Sheep, and other endangered species need to cross their borderland habitat often, and this wall will crush their ability to survive.”
Proposed border construction projects will severely harm some of the Southwest’s most significant lands and wildlife habitat, including wildlife refuges, national parks, forests and wilderness areas. More border walls further damage already-stressed wildlife and places, such as the Cactus Pygmy Owl and Sonoran Pronghorn in Arizona; Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard and Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep in California; Jaguar and Mexican Gray Wolves in New Mexico; and the Rio Grande River, Ocelot, and Big Bend National Park in Texas. Walls harm wildlife by blocking critical migration corridors and destroying valuable habitat.
As federal enforcement intensifies, a key focus should be wildlife-friendly vehicle barriers in strategic and at-risk places on the border, such as the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Goldwater Range, Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge and Coronado National Forest. A wildlife-friendly vehicle barrier at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona has proven effective at stopping smuggling vehicles from entering the U.S.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with more than 25,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and habitat.