Trump’s border wall in Europe is already hurting wildlife and – hopefully – our conscience

It’s perhaps one of Western Europe’s biggest hypocrisies. We Europeans are appalled by Trump’s idea of building a wall along the Mexican border.

But we have recently allowed many such walls to be built in our own backyard. All along South-East Europe, borders are now lined by wire fences.

And while Trump’s wall would be aimed at stopping illegal immigrants, ours is there to prevent the entry of refugees, often escaping from wars we helped fight and failed to win, just as we failed to help make their countries stable and prosperous in the process.

Over the past year, media including Nature and the BBC have examined what Trump’s wall would mean for nature and wildlife in the delicate desert ecosystems along the US-Mexico border.

The verdict? It would be a disaster. It divides natural habitats and prevents the movement of animals, and increased border patrol is also disruptive to habitats.

Refugee fences

Back in Europe, away from the limelight of the US presidential election, our border fences are already wreaking havoc on wildlife. As soon as the fence was built along Slovenia’s border with Croatia, deer started getting caught in it and dying.

And scientists told New Scientist magazine that big animals with large ranges such as bears, wolves and lynx will be affected as the fence divides them up into smaller populations. Seasonally migrating deer are also affected.

But it’s not just big, iconic creatures that are affected. More recently environmentalists have sounded the alarm over the future of one of Europe’s – and indeed the world’s – rarest mammals, Vojvodina mole rats. These curious underground animals happen to be restricted to areas near the Hungarian border with Serbia.

Overlooked impacts

The fence built by Hungarians cuts though one of the mole rats’ key populations, cutting it in two, and increased border patrols disrupt their habitat.

Other examples have undoubtedly gone undetected and unreported by the media. Many of the effects are also likely only to become apparent in the long term.

And that’s saying nothing about the sad fact that we in modern democracies in 21st century Europe have built physical walls to stop other people – civilians, women and children – escaping the ravages of war.

Whoever wins the US election, our shameful ‘Trump wall’ in Europe is here to stay and continue to degrade our wildlife and our standing in the eyes of right-thinking people.

Mićo Tatalović

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2 thoughts on “Trump’s border wall in Europe is already hurting wildlife and – hopefully – our conscience”

  1. How to deal with this nightmare? It seems that many european citizens are far away to remind what their parents, grand-parents, great-grand parents and earlier ancestors have borne for us. Generosity and integration are much more efficient and sane than tax evasion combined with bad mood and reject! Bottom-up energies are needed to counterbalance top-down drifts ! Massive investment and scientific breakthrough in renewable energy are urgently required to deliver one for all our world from the battle for fossil energy driven by our own “beautiful” people! Peace should thus be easier to secure everywhere and sunshine in our minds!