Photograph of a jaguar on April 20, 2021, in the Conservation Park, in Medellín (Colombia). EFE/ Luis Eduardo Noriega A.

Experts denounce US border wall threatens jaguar

Hermosillo, Mexico, Oct 12 (EFE) – Environmentalists from Mexico and the United States warned that the border wall hasn’t stopped the transit of migrants, but instead has affected the habitat and migration of species such as the jaguar, which cross the western Sierra Madre from Sonora to Arizona.

Cecilia Aguilar Morales, project coordinator for Wildlands Networks, an organization whose mission is to reconnect wildlife in North America, told EFE that the expansion of the wall in recent years has negatively affected the natural habits of wild cats.

(FILE) Undated photograph available today, Saturday, July 7, 2012, shows a jaguar in Corcovado National Park, in southern Costa Rica. EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas

“Since the last administration in the United States (Donald Trump), the wall began to be built in places where it did not exist, a higher wall was raised and the way was paved to place maritime containers as a wall in some areas between Sonora and Arizona,” Aguilar said.

“Since they put in the containers and the wall was expanded, we have seen that the species cannot cross, but the people continue to pass, the wall does not stop the people, but it does stop the wildlife,” she added.

She acknowledged that the recent removal of containers from the international line represents progress in the recovery of natural habitats, but she warns that the recently approved projects to reinforce the border wall could have negative consequences.

The specialist explained that the removal of containers “is not enough, it does not end the problem, it continues because there is a wall and connectivity is still not fully restored”.

This week, from October 9 to 11, the Northwest Jaguar Summit was held in Hermosillo, Mexico, bringing together conservation specialists from Mexico and the United States.

(FILE) Photograph of a jaguar on April 20, 2021, in the Conservation Park, in Medellín (Colombia). EFE/ Luis Eduardo Noriega A.

The goal was to coordinate and agree on actions to be taken by environmental experts, researchers, activists and bureaucrats to restore the ecological connectivity disrupted by roads, railroads, public and private infrastructure, pipelines and power cables, but most of all by the wall.

In addition to removing the sea containers, the specialists obtained commitments from immigration and security officials to install wildlife crossings and open “gates” in riverbeds and streams in wild areas.

The specialist said there are several organizations, including Wildlands Networks and Sky Island Alliance, that have been monitoring the border wall sites.

The jaguar, whose scientific name is Panthera onca, historically occupied Arizona and New Mexico in the southern United States, Mexican territory, and extended into the jungles of Misiones in northern Argentina.

Modernization reduced its habitat by millions of acres as jungles and tropical forests were cleared to make way for farmland, cattle ranches, roads, cities and towns.

Poaching also decimated the enigmatic and largest cat in the Americas, an icon of Indigenous cultures throughout the continent. EFE