The fences built across Europe to stop refugees are threatening the continent’s wildlife !
A team of researchers led by John Linnell of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research found that the fences are quite literally killing animals: by limiting their access to seasonal resources that might be on the other side of the fence, and separating groups of the same species, the fences have resulted in increased inbreeding, weaker animals, and dropping population numbers.
Though the full extent of the current border fence is uncertain, the authors of the study estimate a total of 30,000 km (about 18,500 miles) across Europe. Many of these fences should be temporary—freedom of movement within Europe is still, after all, a right—but their installment has already started to harm several species, including deer, moose, bison, and some carnivores.
For instance, there are 10 or 11 packs of wolves living by the Slovenian-Croatian border, and half of them are used to living on both sides of the fence, according to the study. Not being able to cross the border to reach the population on the other side may cause the wolves to inbreed, and potentially become weaker. Lynx also face a harsh destiny: they’re getting caught in sharp razor fences, and dying. Their population is dwindling, and may be pushed to local extinction. Bears, too, might be under threat, though their populations are large enough to survive on either side of the fence in the short term.