As a resident of Southern Arizona my greatest concern about building a solid border wall is the effect it will have on natural, long-time wildlife corridors. The growth of urban areas has led to an ever-increasing lessening of wildlife habitats. Because migration routes and areas where mountain lions, bear, wolves and even coyotes hunt life-sustaining food has of necessity moved farther afield. Their range has spread to thinner areas of open forests, deserts and across state and country borders. Any solid barrier is a sad additional hindrance for our ever challenged, decreasing wildlife.
The National Wildlife Federation set aside an Urban Wildlife Week in Los Angeles, California last year. And they had another in Seattle, Washington from May 1st through 6th this year.
The first recognition came about because NWF partners and staff became aware of, and traced the path of a banded mountain lion who crossed two busy freeways to settle in Griffith Park, one of the country’s largest urban parks in the heart of busy southern California.
This trek brought to attention the need for safe corridors which will allow animals the ability to live and hunt successfully in our developed landscapes.
In this area our Native American tribe whose reservation crosses from Arizona into Mexico is against building a solid, high wall across their land where animals from small to large freely roam, and where they often cross to join family or harvest saguaro fruit. Many fear they are fighting a losing battle.
However, the Annenberg Foundation, the Boeing Company and others who supported the first Urban Wildlife Week have taken personal action to ensure people and wildlife can coexist in and around cities. They are shining a light on the risk of fragmenting habitats creating needless wildlife population declines due to blocked natural corridors of animal travel.
A few years ago I watched a mama mountain lion take refuge in our back yard with her two cubs for a period of three days while she tried to teach them how to climb our tree and scale the walls that here are around most homes. She caught birds and I suppose any field mice to keep them fed. I loved having the ringside seat from my office window to observe her progress in getting all of them out of our back yard and into one of the washes that I hope led them to safer, better hunting. What it did was highlight to me the need to keep some areas open and free for such gorgeous animals to travel.
Wildlife in the City is a program designed to gather resources and information on helping link city parks, backyards, office parks with other open spaces to ensure the survival of wildlife that are an essential component of our ecosystem. With so many calls on our money and time, it’s grown increasingly more difficult to help wild animals thrive outside of zoos.
I personally think it will be a sad day if we spend billions of dollars closing off our southern border which to date has kept endangered species like the Mexican Gray Wolf and almost extinct jaguar alive in their cross-country hunting expeditions. I hope people who read this won’t judge my comments as political. I believe it helps to voice concerns.