This transboundary region between the U.S. and Mexico contains the Gila Wilderness, Sky Islands, iconic grasslands, and the largest desert in North America- Mexico’s Chihuahuan desert. The Borderlands are a bridge between temperate North America and tropical Mesoamerica. The Sky Islands are home to an astounding diversity of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, insects and plants, including the highest species diversity of pollinators on the continent: 30 different bat species, 18 species of hummingbirds, and estimates of over 500 different butterfly and native bee species. Despite being an arid landscape, the Borderlands do support unique desert fishes and aquatic species . This landscape also has the potential to continue to support, as well as increase, populations of iconic species like jaguar, tortoise, and bison.
On both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, ex-urban development,, over-exploitation of water resources, mining development, inadequate ranching and agricultural practices, the suppression of natural fire regimes, and the arrival of invasive species have drastically fragmented, converted and degraded forest, grasslands and waterways. One of the greatest threats to wildlife and ecosystem connectivity is the rapidly expanding Border Wall. This wall is impermeable to wildlife, blocking the movement of animals that need space to roam or must shift their ranges to adjust with climate change, such as bison, pronghorn antelope, jaguar, ocelot, Mexican gray wolf, black bear and deer. Ecologically and culturally significant sites along the borderlands have already been seriously impacted and some of the damage may be irreversible.
WCS will continue to support thriving wildlife and address connectivity in the southwest borderlands head on so that wildlife can continue to flourish in their historic range for generations to come.