A Border Wall Will Harm People and Wildlife

The current administration of the United States government is focused on building a southern border wall to keep out illegal aliens. Whether a border wall will keep people out or not is questionable. The real problem of building a border wall is that it will hinder the migration of wildlife between the United States and Mexico. Much of this wildlife is endangered. A border wall could do more damage than good.

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The Rio Grande River valley is a perfect environment for wildlife.

A Border Wall Will Harm People and Wildlife

The United States and Mexico border runs along the Rio Grande River but it also passes through treacherous deserts and canyons. Desert areas where wildlife thrives is deadly for humans. Most people who have tried to cross the border in these deserts have died. Building a border wall in these areas will do nothing but harm the wildlife.

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The range of wild ocelots runs from Texas down through South America. Image credit: LucasFZ70


Six wildlife refuges, conservation areas, tribal lands, and six national parks line the United States and Mexico border. These areas connect and are there to protect species like the Sonoran pronghorn that migrate through that corridor. Recent construction of fences and vehicle barriers have already created problems for migrating species. A 20-foot concrete border wall, that has been proposed by the current administration, will cut off migrations and likely destroy species that are already endangered.

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The Nine-Banded Armadillo lives in the Rio Grande area along with a diverse amount of wildlife. Image credit: cherylholt


Right now, the focus is on the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge located in the Rio Grande Valley. Since this land is owned by the government the administration has decided to start building the wall here. Although this refuge is small it is very important. There are thousands of tropical birds here that are not found anywhere else in the United States. More than 400 species of birds call the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge home. It is also very important to note that Eco-tourism brings in millions of dollars of revenue to this area each year.

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The warm climate of the Rio Grande is a great habitat for thousands of tropical birds. Image credit: skeeze


A study conducted in 2011 estimated that living within 30 miles of the border are 57 amphibian species, 134 mammal species, and 178 reptile species. Fifty of these species are threatened and the only reason they still exist is that people in both countries have worked hard to save them.

This same study found that bisecting the habitat with walls has detrimental effects on the wildlife. Existing walls on the border have cut off rare animals like the Ocelot and the jaguar. Building walls along the border lead to roads being built in pristine wilderness areas. Existing walls have also lead to flooding when the Rio Grande overflows. In 2008, a flood near the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona caused millions of dollars in damage and resulted in the death of two people.

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The endangered Mexican Gray Wolf has been re-established in Arizona and New Mexico. Wolves can roam up to 400 square miles. Image credit: christels


Of all the animal species effected by border walls, the one that is the most endangered is the Mexican Gray Wolf. There were only 113 Mexican Gray Wolves in the wild in 2016. It is essential to keep this land open so the wolves won’t inbreed. Biologists say that Mexican Gray Wolves need to have at least three separate groups living in a large area to keep the gene pool healthy. A border wall could cut off these groups and cause the Mexican Gray Wolf to become extinct.

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The Chachalaca’s DNA shows that its lineage goes back 20 to 40 million years. Image credit: AngieToh


There are many animals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge that will be cut off if a border wall is placed in that area. Endangered animals like the Chachalaca, the Collared Peccary, the Nine-Banded Armadillo, the Texas Earless Lizard, the Jaguarundi, the Ocelot, the Mountain Lion, the Bobcat, and the Barred Tiger Salamander will be seriously affected by a border wall.

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The Rio Grande river runs through steep canyons where a wall could not be built.


A border wall may be popular with the base supporters of the United States President, but it will be nothing but detrimental to wildlife and the people living in towns along the Rio Grande River. Disregarding the negative effects of a border wall is irresponsible and cruel. Sadly, wildlife cannot speak up for itself and biologists are being ignored by the government. Let us hope that common sense will eventually prevail in the United States government and the billions they want to spend on a wall will be diverted to something more important like wildlife conservation.






  1. I think the border wall is the worst idea of all time and honestly I never even thought about the wildlife – I thought about the people.

  2. People don’t seem to be worried as they continue to build homes and businesses taking over the land our wildlife live on. Yes I disagree. Build the wall.

  3. I am so frustrated with a lot of what is going on within our country and our world. Laying it out like this in terms of the harm to the wildlife is really helpful in explaining the impact for this.

  4. I never thought about the wall harming wildlife. This is definitely a side to the border wall that I haven’t heard until now. Interesting perspective. I’d hate that the wall would change eco-systems and wildlife.

  5. Yes, a million times YES. I wish more people would stop and think about how their actions are negatively affecting the environment and the community at large. Can’t wait for these four years of stupidity to be over.

  6. The border wall idea was always stupid start to finish. I wish you could see how hard I just rolled my eyes. They don’t look at the big picture and this is why they have given zero thought to the people or the wildlife.

    • Sadly, wildlife and conservation areas aren’t even considered most of the time. I often wonder if the shoe was on the other foot and it was human habitats being destroyed. Would the powers that be care?

  7. Wow! This is such an eye-opening post. I think we all need to be less selfish and look at the long-lasting impacts of these things. The wall is the stupidest thing I have ever heard, it is a medieval concept and I would like to think that we have evolved a bit more than that in the past 500 years. I guess not.

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