For Immediate Release, March 17, 2020

Contact:

Randy Serraglio, (520) 784-1504, rserraglio@biologicaldiversity.org

New Border Wall Segments Would End U.S. Jaguar Recovery

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Trump administration’s latest border-wall plan will wall off all remaining jaguar corridors across the U.S.-Mexico border. The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it will waive dozens of environmental and public health laws to fast-track border wall construction in Arizona, California and Texas.

“The new border walls will mean the end of jaguar recovery in the United States,” said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This tragedy’s all the more heartbreaking because walling off these beautiful wildlands is completely unnecessary and futile. It has nothing to do with border security and everything to do to with Trump’s racist campaign promise.”

The new wall segments lie in remote, mountainous, extremely rugged terrain that correspond perfectly to the handful of remaining corridors jaguars use to move back and forth between the United States and the core of a small, vulnerable breeding population of northern jaguars in Sonora, Mexico.

During wall construction under the Secure Fence Act in the 2000s, the Border Patrol decided it was unnecessary to build walls in these places, despite migrant traffic being far greater than it is now.

“The Border Patrol decided years ago that border walls weren’t needed in these remote areas,” said Serraglio. “It would be incredibly expensive and an engineering nightmare, and there’s no justification in terms of border security. Sacrificing the wildlife and living landscapes of the borderlands for Trump’s vanity wall is criminal.”

Many other species use these remote areas to migrate across the landscape. A 2017 Center report identified 93 threatened and endangered species along the 2,000-mile border that would be harmed by Trump’s wall.

“Jaguars are a key part of the stunningly diverse web of life in the borderlands that will fall apart if these walls are built,” said Serraglio. “The crisis of runaway extinction is devastating wildlife and wild places all over our planet. Trump’s border wall is pouring gas on that fire, and we’ll continue to fight it every step of the way.”

The Center and allies have sued to challenge Trump’s emergency declaration, which would fund this border-wall construction. These groups have also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review federal court rulings allowing the Trump administration to waive laws to speed border-wall construction from the Pacific Ocean to the Rio Grande Valley.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Programs: