Wildlife supporters gather at border crossing
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NACO, Ariz. — Banners and supporters of a wildlife corridor greeted John Davis when he reached the U.S.-Mexico border at Naco, on Thursday.
Davis crossed at a walled wildlife pathway and was met by 40 supporters of wildlife corridors from both countries, carrying a 200-foot-long social and environmental art project featuring jaguar and other art.
The parade to the border wall through Naco was followed by a traditional blessing ceremony by Yaqui tribal members. Some supporters wore jaguar masks and attempted to climb the wall to show the difficulty animals experience when trying to migrate through the barriers of the borderlands.
“I’m hoping the fact that I can’t just hike from one country to the other without running into a 16‐foot‐high steel barricade will highlight the plight of animals trying to follow their traditional pathways across the border,” said Davis. “I know the wall is there for a reason, but when you try to keep people out with solid barriers, you also cut off wildlife movement.”
Davis has seen plenty of wildlife barriers during his month-long, 400-mile hike, bike and horseback expedition through some of northern Mexico’s wildest landscapes. This is terrain that his partners in the Western Wildway Network, including Naturalia, Northern Jaguar Project, Tutuaca Mountain School and Cuenca los Ojos, are aiming to protect and connect with U.S. lands as part of a 5,000‐mile wildlife corridor linking Mexico’s Sierra Madre with Canada’s Crown of the Continent.
Davis plans to continuously hike, bike and paddle the remainder of that stretch over the next nine months.
While Davis said he has seen only tracks and scat of jaguar, wolves, ocelot, cougar and bear — the animals most likely to use such a vast “wildway” for cross-border migration and hunting — a “super-landscape barricade” presents strong evidence that puts the wildlife movement problems in clear focus, he said.
“We should be able to accommodate the needs of wildlife and national security at the same time,” Davis said.
Davis was the featured speaker at a Tucson TrekWest celebration on Saturday at Tucson’s “Historic Y,” sponsored by the Wildlands Network and local southern Arizona partners Defenders of Wildlife, Sky Island Alliance and Northern Jaguar Project. Davis’ Mexico adventures, his regular blogs, posts and tweets, trail route maps and a petition to be delivered to U.S. decision-makers at the end of his trek, can be viewed at www.trekwest.org. The journey and events along the route are being sponsored by Wildlands Network.
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