Our Impact Earth team is monitoring the movement of wild animals along the southern border with Mexico.

The non-profit organization “Sky Island Alliance” has noticed changes in the migration patterns of larger animals due in part, they say, to the expanded border wall.

“These larger animals are really restricted, and our cameras have documented that they approach, they pace, but they cannot get through the wall,” said Sky Island Alliance’s program manager, Eamon Harrity.

Since 2020, they’ve been monitoring and observing more than 130 wildlife species with motion-activated cameras between Nogales and past Douglas.

Harrity said larger animal populations, like bears and deer, may fade out of certain areas, making them vulnerable to events like wildfires and drought.

“It’s going to be years down the road where some of the more serious implications of this, the border infrastructure and its current structure, are really felt and understood,” he stated.

The group is advocating for subtle changes to border infrastructure, such as leaving floodgates open for longer periods during monsoon season and adding more small wildlife openings that are about the size of a sheet of paper, making it easier for certain animals to cross.

Harrity said he understands what the government is attempting to do but doesn’t think this version of the border wall is that effective when it comes to its original goal.

“The infrastructure we have in place is really, really effective at stopping wildlife, like bears, jaguars, and deer, but it’s not that effective at stopping people. So it’s not solving the problem that we think we have,” he said.