Fowl Line

The U.S.-Mexico fence protects the border but could endanger animals

Border Patrol
The U.S.-Mexico border fence could affect turkey populations if the birds cannot fly over an 18-foot enclosure to find additional food sources.Roy Toft

A trio of turkeys peacefully gobbles cornmeal on a cattle ranch in northern Mexico. But a fence may cut off the chuckwagon.

Last February, Roy Toft, a fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers, photographed these turkeys for an ILCP project documenting wildlife around the first few hundred miles of the 18-foot metal wall that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is building along the border.

Defenders of Wildlife, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit partnering with ILCP, predicts that the wall could interfere with the habitat or migration (and therefore the feeding and mating opportunities) of some 40 endangered and threatened species, including jaguars and ocelots. "I started the project in hopes of broadening our discussion of [the wall's] environmental factors," says ILCP member Krista Schlyer, who recruited Toft for the project.

This month, Toft's work will be exhibited for the U.S. Senate.