Gaps in the Border Wall
The Mexico-Arizona border wall creates a massive barrier to habitat connectivity. Currently twenty-three gaps that provide critical passageways for wildlife like jaguars are threatened. We flew with passengers working to protect these barriers and the vital role they play; along with members of the press to elevate public awareness about this political and ecological issue.
The U.S. border wall is more than just a political and ideological barrier. It also presents a challenge for habitat connectivity. Wildlife, including jaguars, don’t recognize international boundaries, but these large predators struggle to access large swaths of habitat on either side of the border.
Amidst a changing political landscape, the Department of Homeland Security has said it plans to construct additional barriers in twenty-three “gaps” in the wall. Wildlife currently utilize these as passages between areas of habitat on either side of the border. Additional barriers would further obstruct this already fragmented region.
The section of the border wall in question is adjacent to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife refuge and the wild and remote Sycamore Canyon and the Baboquivari Mountains, which contain federally protected critical habitat for jaguars and other species.
EcoFlight flew news media and wildlife experts over the border wall and its adjacent wildlife habitat to better understand the importance of connectivity to these sensitive species, and use the aerial perspective to examine the impact that additional barriers would have on the region’s ecology.