Bring stakeholders and international media outlets on a flight over wildlands support jaguars, Mexican spotted owls, and other diverse species, which are threatened by proposed road construction and mining.
The U.S. border wall is more than just a political and ideological barrier. It also presents a challenge for habitat connectivity. Wildlife, like jaguars, don’t recognize international boundaries, and these large predators need to access large swaths of habitat on either side of the border.
Amidst a changing political landscape, US Customs and Border Protection and the US Forest Service are planning to construct new roads to more quickly access the wall and intercept border-crossers. Additional roads would further obstruct this already fragmented region, reducing wildlife's ability to roam freely and access habitat.
We flew over sections of the border wall that are adjacent to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the wild and remote Sycamore Canyon and the Baboquivari Mountains. These areas contain federally protected critical habitat for jaguars and other species, showcasing the necessity of reducing wildlife barriers in this region.
We continued, flying over another barrier to wildlife movement - mining. We flew over the Hermosa Project in the Patagonia Mountains, an area with exceptional biodiversity. If permitted, Hermosa will be a massive zinc, silver, and manganese mine. We also examined the Rosemont Mine in the beautiful Santa Rita Mountains. The mine has been entangled in legal battles for years, and has a planned footprint of over one and a half square miles, and a depth of more than three thousand feet. In May, a higher court overturned a lower court's decision, revoking the previous verdict that said the Rosemont Mine could not be constructed on land designated as critical jaguar habitat. Rosemont Mine would pose a severe environmental danger to wildlife and human communities. These developments, along with hundreds of old mining sites in the region, pose massive risks to the region, which is a global biodiversity hotspot, threatening wildlife, water quality, and public lands.
Our flight partners continue to fight against wildlife habitat fragmentation and degradation at the hands of development and irresponsible mining.
EcoFlight is pleased to provide you with these
aerial photos from the flight and these
geo-reference flight photos.