Thursday, 8 February 2018

Protest set for Texas wildlife refuge at ground zero of Trump's border wall plan

The Santa Ana refuge, home to migratory birds, butterflies and ocelots, could soon be dominated by a militarised barrier

Tom Dart in Houston
Sat 27 Jan 2018 12.00 GMTLast modified on Sat 27 Jan 2018 12.01 GMT

As politicians in Washington quarrel over funding for border security, a protest rally is planned for Saturday at the Texas wildlife centre that is set to be one of the first locations of Donald Trump’s wall.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Santa Ana national wildlife refuge, a 2,088-acre site by the Rio Grande river that is festooned with Spanish moss and a haven for migratory birds, butterflies and ocelots. But campaigners fear the sanctuary will be wrecked if the government builds a giant barrier through it.

 “It’s one of the most biodiverse refuges in the United States,” said Scott Nichol of the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy organisation that is one of the groups holding the event in a field adjacent to the refuge.

Ocelots – small, spotted wild cats – are endangered in the US because of habitat destruction and Nichol fears that a wall would trap them, not only restricting their movement but killing them if the area floods during a storm. “That basically turns the refuge into a death trap, the waters rise and the animals all drown,” he said.

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