TUCSON, AZ – Arizona Game and Fish is planning to relocate pronghorn from central Arizona to replenish herds in southeastern Arizona where the number of animals has been decimated by recently-constructed walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Arizona Public Media and the Arizona Daily Star report that these drastic measures are intended to avoid a total die-off of pronghorn herds in the vicinity of Sonoita and the San Rafael Valley. The Sonoita herd has only about 18 animals remaining, and the 7 animals of the San Rafael herd rely on only one buck who is too old to breed.
These two herds are victims of habitat fragmentation caused by environmentally reckless border policies. Hundreds of miles of border barriers and roads were hastily built in Arizona from 2006 to 2009, many of them without regard for vital environmental safeguards and federal protections such as the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. These laws, and dozens more, were waived along most of Arizona’s border with Mexico by the Bush Administration.
"Habitat fragmentation, whether caused by urban sprawl, highways, or, in this case, border walls, cuts species off from the terrain they need to find food, water and mates,” says Dan Millis of Sierra Club Borderlands in Tucson. “People climb the wall all the time. Instead of serving its intended purpose – to deter people, the wall is stopping wildlife and endangering their survival, as is the case with these pronghorn.”
“It is going to cost a lot of money to capture and relocate pronghorn from central Arizona and move them in with the struggling herds,” continues Millis. “The federal government wasted billions on useless border walls to the detriment of the border environment, and now Arizonans are stuck with the costs of cleaning up the mess.”
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