Mountain lion stuck at border wall

Demarcated Landscapes features a compelling photograph of a mountain lion stuck along a wall in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge:

Mountain lion stuck at border wallDemarcated Landscapes

The wall between America and Mexico is having a significant impact on wildlife migration.






  1. JB Avatar

    Ha, that’ll show that lazy, no-taxes-paying lion. If he wants to live in America, he can go through the naturalization process, pay back taxes, and learn to talk right like the rest of us! 😉

  2. Jeff Avatar

    I was wondering which side of the fence he is on? Maybe he was trying to head south for the winter.

  3. JB Avatar


    How ethnocentric of me to assume s/he was on the Mexican side of the fence trying to get in. Shame on me!

  4. vicki Avatar

    I think it is a sad situation. However, we have many things to consider when we ask that the wall come down.
    I know that wildlife is suffering, and NO, I am not suggesting this is the best wasy to deal with our immigration problems. What I am suggesting is that we do deal with them. When we do find alternatives, we may get less argument when we ask to bring it down.
    It is stupid to begin with, because it does not actually deal with the immigration issues. What needs to be done is to end the incintive for illegal imigrantsto cross over nad then not leave. We need to penalize employers who hire illegals, heavily. We need to end aid to illegals. We need to require service in our military, and rseidency applications by mothers PRIOR to child birth, before granting citizenship to their children. And amnesty needs to be more carefully scrutinized to be given to those who are in real need of it….by proper channels and through legal avenues.

    We can only begin to devote America’s tax dollars to fixing what is needing fixed at home after we have stopped trying to fix what is broken everywhere else. What the real problem is, is America’s failure to see that we are in as much need of repair as any other country.

    Then we can begin to bring down walls and fences of all sorts.

  5. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    The wall is somewhat amusing to Mexicans. They paint steps on their side of it. They write “enter here.” Kids practice gymnastic moves going over the top of the wall. It’s more of an insult than an obstacle to people. But it is a genuine obstacle to wildlife.

  6. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    I’m not saying that that this doesn’t or didn’t happen, but those images look suspicious to me.

  7. Demarcated Landscapes Avatar

    Matt, Those photos are legit- we assure you.

  8. Lee Avatar

    From the sun angle it looks as though it is on the north side of the fence. The first picture appears to be a shot looking west.

  9. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I have been along the border near that area and would rather have a few cougars having problems with the wall, than continue the incredible damage being done by the people smugglers and drug smugglers to the area before the wall was in place. Build more walls higher and faster! We need a vehicle-proof barrier along the entire border.

  10. JB Avatar


    Even if we had a “vehicle-proof” barrier people would continue to go over and under–and it would cost us a fortune to build and maintain. What we need is a better means of detecting intrusions upon our borders(maybe digital surveillance?), without disrupting wildlife corridors.

  11. Brian Ertz Avatar

    in my experience on the border, and on my property near the border – it is the border patrol and in areas the vigilante ranchers/white-supremacists patrolling the border – the militarized “enforcement” – that does far more damage to the land than anything else. They continue their off-road patrol even with the wall. the helicopters fly low over my land. the BP trespasses, in some cases harasses, and in so many cases “tears it up” with impunity.

    one can say that the trash is not pretty to look at, this is true. but from an ecological perspective this doesn’t shake a stick at the damage being done by the militarization (i.e. off-roading by border-patrol and walls that cut migration).

    earlier this summer i was hiking in the Huachucas, along the border, and from where-ever i was i could see a white blimp (digital surveillance) tethered in place to monitor the border. they do this with natural barriers in places. i couldn’t help but shake the feeling like i wasn’t safe from harassment there, like i was being watched as a little yellow/orange dot on some militants screen and that perhaps my hike would be interrupted at any moment.

    JB, digital surveillance can’t remedy what is at its heart a corrupt and hateful paradigm guiding this policy.

    what people don’t often understand is the human element. that these are families and that there are communities that take place among the people who just so happen to be on either side the “border”. people don’t understand that the more our policy relies on militant obstruction of human (and wildlife) migration, the more the activity is driven underground – the more dangerous for women and children the black market becomes – the more the people in these communities are exposed to that artificially emboldened black-market incentive. we see the effect of the same militancy on wildlife as well. when it becomes about “other” or alienation, it’s a heck of a lot easier to take action in anger and fear that keeps out of mind FAR LARGER REALITY of the women, children, wildlife, community, etc. etc. etc. i wish there was a way of relaying the experience of these communities, people, and wildlife to so many that are so out of touch – so far removed – yet so fearful or hateful about it.

    in naco, they used to have an annual volleyball game. people from both sides of the border would get together with great food, music, and play volleyball. i’m not sure whether that’s still happening, what the wall will mean for that, or what – but i thought that was a great way of bringing the point across.

  12. JB Avatar


    I don’t think digital surveillance is the answer in and of itself, but it is part of the answer…and it is a part that allows for porous borders for wildlife. It is important to remember that the U.S. markets aren’t just attractive to honest and/or desperate Mexican citizens. In 2002 a good friend of mine–a park ranger at Organ Pipe–was shot and killed by Mexican drug dealers who were using the Park as a convenient means to carry drugs into the U.S. Frankly, I don’t really have a problem with those who cross the border in an attempt to find honest work, but I am not willing to ignore the fact that our parks are being used as a freeway for drug dealers.

  13. chuck parker Avatar
    chuck parker

    Brian nailed it. The border of Mexico and Arizona is a war zone, and if you look at a map, you’ll see we’re trashing some natural treasures: Cabeza-Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (home of Ed Abbey’s carcass) Organ Pipe National Monument, Buenes Aires National Wildlife Refuge, San Pedro River National Riparian Habitat–a fantastic birding area–and much, much, more. We’re trashing it with planes and helicopter and blimps. We’re trashing it with 4WDs and ORVs. And yeah, the illegal border crossers are trashing it with TONS of garbage ranging from disposable diapers to Mexican soap opera digests. Tons of garbage, mounds of garbage–classic you’ve got to see it to believe it.

    Please excuse me for whining. I don’t know what the solution is to the illegal immigration problem in terms of international policies. But I don’t think it’s a fence.

  14. vicki Avatar

    It isn’t a fence that will solve things.. The solution, in short, is implimentation and follow through of laws.
    The problem is far larger tha keeping these people out , or these people in. And yes, Brian is right that human smuggling is an extremely huge hazard.
    The problem is not just that people are here illegaly, it is that we have a structure that provides social benefits based on social contributions, via taxes. People who are not within our borders legally do not contribute to that social economic system, but they do cause signifigant depletion of it’s financial ability to aid those of us who do.
    We have to address the practices that enable people to hire illegal imigrants. Not only are those people employed at an unfair wage, and without benefits…but if they were here legally and were taxed (yes, I know, a nasty word), they would aid in our social financial success.
    But let’s not kid ourselves, a wall isn’t going to fix that. Only policing and enforcement of laws will.
    It is the same thing that happens all the time in this country….we make laws, and spend money to do so, and the we fail to enforce them. It is like capital punishment being ordered, and then never executing anyone….a huge waste of money, for lack of enforcement has no detering effects, and a complete slap in the face of the legal system. In the end, you are still feeding the murderer, you just spent millions to keep him out of general population and take away his publicly funded phone calls. He is no less a criminal, no more productive to society, and hasn’t stopped one person from doing exactly what he did to land him there.

    Unless you are going to actually execute death row inmates, why waste money persuing the death penalty? WOuldn’t it be cheaper and wiser just to isolate them and give them fewer privledges to begin with? That is what ends up happening anyhow. In the same note, unless you are going to actually punish people for coming here illegally, why put up a freakin’ wall, or bother passing laws to end illegal imigration? If those who would come here illegaly don’t see it as the wrong way to come here, or as having any negative consequences….they will just keep doing it.

    Even if you deport illegals, they will likely come back if they are able. You have to remove the people who enable them to break the laws. Punish business owners with jail time and huge fines for hiring illegal imigrants. Make it more expensive for them to pay fines than to employee legal citizens and you will see a decline in illegal imigration.

    The wall is a waste of time, money and effort. . .not to even mention the environmental repercussions. I think it is mostly there to give us all a false sense of security, and is a visible piece of evidence that some one did something…no matter how frivolous it was. Now some politicians can say “I did something to try to end illegal immigration. See that huge wall over there? It is proof.”

  15. Brian Ertz Avatar


    the tighter you squeeze down on any illegal activity serving a demand with fear and militancy that has a market behind it, the more valuable that activity becomes and the more you attract the dangerous characters to it. that this it true is a further consequence to these border communities, whether these are communities of people or wildlife, of the militant enforcement of a paradigm of alienation between neighboring nations. if we were to spend a fraction as much resource investing in the idea that we are neighbors as we do investing in the idea that ‘they’ are ‘alien’ then we might find that the positives of the diversity and likenesses of our communities on the border have the upper hand – investing in these communities’ culture, wild places, and economic well-being on the border might mean that the ‘good people’ (the vast majority) have incentive to keep the ‘bad ones’ out. instead, in many of these border towns the Border Patrol (BP) and other militant ‘enforcers’ and their corruption are the economic staples. the honest people are held between outlaws and militants (many of whom temporarily revolved in and out from places like the midwest, back east, or other places with which they have no ties to the community) who look at them with the same fear as the real criminals until they get acquainted – just about the time that they’re shipped off.

    i’m sorry about your friend – i’ve had a couple of friends killed on the border as well, one was a dear friend. I hope it doesn’t paint your view of the place entirely – the desert landscapes on the border are so beautiful and unique, the communities rich with culture and compassion.

  16. Demarcated Landscapes Avatar

    We appreciate the thoughtful discussion the mountain lion photos have provoked- and we also are aware of the implications of our failed immigration and drug policies that have opened up the backcountry to illegal activities. We’re not living in la-la land and really, we know way too much about the death of Kris Eggle at Organ Pipe. Trust us. We know what the backcountry of Arizona and Sonora look like these days, and we know it isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s terrifying, and it isn’t the poor desperate immigrant families that scare us.

    But we also know that the increased violence and criminal activity on the border is because of the increased militarization and infrastructure, not a call for more. We need a more comprehensive immigration policy and a more realistic drug policy if we want to slow down illegal activities on the border. The wall isn’t working and it won’t work, not as long as the back pressure is building. In the meantime, we’re losing habitat, riparian areas, and a sense of wilderness.

    We agree that digital technology is a potential solution, but you’re right, it can only be part of the answer. The answer is going to need to address root causes as well as effects.

    BTW, you might be interested to check out the video of the whip snake stuck at the wall:

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Brian Ertz