Monday, July 04, 2016

Fences Snare Wildlife Fleeing Warming Climate

Mongolian gazelle entangled in wire on Mongolia–Russia border. (Image Credit: G. Sukhchuluun) Click to Enlarge.
The world is becoming sadly familiar with the sight of thousands of desperate refugees – escaping bombing and violence in countries like Syria – being pressed against border fences erected to separate countries in Europe and further afield.

Less recognized is the effect these thousands of miles of newly-installed border fencing is often having on wildlife.

But climate change does not recognize borders, and nor do the birds or animals migrating across their territories.

A study by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research estimates that between 25,000 and 30,000 kilometres of fences and walls now run along the borders of various countries in Europe and Central Asia.

Much of this is of very recent construction and has led to what the researchers describe as “a dramatic reduction in the permeability of borders for wildlife, as well as people.”

Driven further
Changes in climate, including rising temperatures and an increase in flash flooding and droughts, mean that wild creatures in many regions are forced to roam ever-larger ranges to find food and water. 

The study says the fences are a significant threat:  “The long-term consequences are a low viability of wildlife populations, and a reduction in their ability to respond to climate change.”

Read more at Fences Snare Wildlife Fleeing Warming Climate

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