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 the temperate north and tropical Mesoamerica. The Sky Islands are home to a high diversity of bird, reptile, amphibian, mammal, insect and plants, including the highest species diversity of pollinators on the continent: 30 different bat species, 18 species of hummingbirds, and estimates in the 500’s of different butterfly and native bee species. Despite being arid, unique desert fishes and aquatic species live here. This landscape 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, poorly planned development and urbanization, unsustainable ranching and agricultural practices, fire suppression, and invasive species have drastically converted and degraded grasslands and waterways. One of the greatest threats to wildlife and ecosystem connectivity is the rapidly expanding Border Wall. Current plans are to build a 30-foot wall across the entire New Mexico and Arizona transboundary region. This wall is impermeable to wildlife, blocks movement of animals that need space to roam, such as bison, pronghorn antelope, jaguar, ocelot, Mexican gray wolf, black bear and deer, and species that must shift their ranges north to adjust with climate change. Ecologically and culturally significant sites along the borderlands have already been seriously impacted and some of the damage is 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.