A new study evaluates the impact of the 15,000 to 19,000 miles of fences in place between Western Europe and Central Asia as well as the consequences from hundreds of miles of additional border fencing erected since 2015. That construction was done hastily, without assessing the threats the barriers could pose to gray wolves, brown bears, Eurasian lynx, and other native species, according to the researchers.
Immediate threats include entanglement in razor- and barbed-wire fencing. The barriers can also halt seasonal migration and limit species’ ability to move into new territory in response to climate change. Over time, fences can lead to population fragmentation and inbreeding, the study found.