Could the US-Mexico border wall impact more than just humans?
The Sonoran Desert covers about 100,000 square miles. Half of the desert is located in the Southwestern United States, and the other half is in Mexico. Native to the Sonoran Desert, the Sonoran pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in North America. Sonoran Pronghorn have been endangered since 1967. It’s estimated that there are only 228 left in the US.
For over a decade, the United States government has invested in protecting the Sonoran pronghorn. Unfortunately for this endangered species, President Trump’s border wall could seriously threaten their recovery. Because the Desert extends into Mexico, Trump’s border wall would block the Sonoran pronghorn from accessing a vast portion of their habitat. For animals like the pronghorn, it’s critical that they can move freely to find food and mates. According to an article by BBC, the wall would “cut off vital pronghorn range altogether.”
For years, wildlife experts have been studying the Sonoran Desert in an effort to preserve its biodiversity. Here are some interesting facts about the Sonoran Desert:
The Sonoran Desert is the only place where you can find saguaro cacti growing naturally.
The Sonoran Desert is home to about 2,000 different plant species.
Besides the Sonoran pronghorn, other animals commonly found in the Sonoran Desert include the banded gila Monster, cactus wren, coyote, desert bighorn, javelina, cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl, and the Sonoran toad.
Of all the North America deserts, the Sonoran Desert is the hottest and most bio-diverse.
Even if you don’t care about wildlife, humans directly benefit from preserving biodiversity. The more biodiverse an ecosystem is, the more likely it is to recover from a natural disaster, which allows us to continue collecting the natural resources that humans need. Also, preserving an ecosystem’s biodiversity can help prevent diseases from spreading to humans. The more animals there are around, the more hosts there are for disease-spreading pests like ticks. In some cases, killing off certain animals encourages pests to spread to human populations, as the disease-spreading parasites have no other hosts to feed off of. We can’t predict how the Sonoran pronghorn’s extinction would impact humans, but we do know that protecting biodiversity is in our best interest.
It’s hard to tell whether or not Trump will succeed in building the infamous border wall. However, we can be certain that wildlife populations don’t care what country they’re in, as long as they can acquire the resources they need to survive and reproduce. Who knows, maybe we could compromise by granting the pronghorn dual citizenship.