Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2006

Contact:  Daniel R. Patterson, Desert Ecologist, 520.623.5252 x306

Senate Votes for 370 Miles of Border Triple Wall That
Will Destroy Southwestern Wildlife and Ecosystems

Tucson, Ariz. – The Center for Biological Diversity blasted today’s U.S. Senate vote to construct a massive triple wall over 370 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.

More border walls, militarization, low-level aircraft and roads will further damage already-stressed wildlife and places, such as the cactus pygmy owl and Sonoran pronghorn in Arizona, flat-tailed horned lizard and Peninsular bighorn sheep in California, jaguar and Mexican wolves in New Mexico, and the Rio Grande River and Big Bend National Park in Texas.

“More walls will harm wildlife and natural landscapes along our fragile southern border,” said Daniel R. Patterson, Desert Ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity who formerly worked with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. “The only living things the walls won’t stop are people. Walls will cut off essential wildlife movement corridors and are not an ethical solution.”

“We praise the wise votes of senators who opposed the wall, including Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico,” Patterson added.

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. Triple wall are not wildlife-friendly. The distance of the triple wall, 370 miles, is approximately the distance from Calexico, California to Douglas, Arizona.

Once the vehicle barriers are in place, agents should patrol in trucks only on roads right on the border or outside wilderness areas, and elsewhere on horse or foot. A wildlife-friendly vehicle barrier at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has proven effective at stopping smuggling vehicles from entering the U.S., but the Border Patrol is still driving off-road in wilderness areas where vehicles are prohibited, destroying fragile desert habitat and running down wildlife and pedestrian immigrants with humvees, trucks and off-road vehicles.

The Center for Biological Diversity is based in Tucson, Arizona and has 22,500 members across the Southwest and nationwide.


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