The scenic-filled 700-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border wall, home to the some of the nation’s crown jewels (think Big Bend National Park or the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge) has, since it’s inception, been at the center of an ongoing debate: Man vs. Wild.
Enviros claimed the nature-infused area restricted wildlife movement and disturbed fragile ecology while wall supporters claimed enhancing national security and ending the flow of undocumented workers trumped wildlife.
With moot wildlife sanctions in play (i.e. vehicle barriers and other waywardness,) the two opposing groups went about their business, wildlife researchers wining bouts with bears and sleeping among snakes while border agents pursued illegals with galloping beasts, they too, sleeping among snakes.
Things were quiet on the southern front, that is until the March killing of Rancher Rob Krentz by an assailant said to have entered (and exited) the U.S. on federal land through Arizona’s San Bernardino Wildlife Refugee, reintroducing the Man vs. Wild battle, round number … what round were we on again?
On April 12, several U.S. Republicans, including drafter Rob Bishop, R-Utah and supporter Lamar Smith, R-Texas, introduced the Bishop Border Security Bill (HR 5016) calling for an end to the Department of Interior’s wildlife restrictions that would prevent the Border Patrol from doing its job.
And this after a court order guarantees a final yes for the border fence to be built through the Texas Nature Conservancy’s Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve (construction started Monday) leaving 95 percent of it’s habitat and one of the last remaining Sabal Palm groves in the U.S. just South of the border.
In these iconic landscapes, where nature and humanity constantly collide, the backdrop can be as cruel as the foreplay, and in the case of Man vs. Wild, round (fill in the blank,) who wins?