Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Butterflies, the unlikely victims of Trump’s border wall
川普築牆 邊界生態恐遭池魚之殃

The entrance to the National Butterfly Center on Jan. 15 in Mission, Texas.
國家蝴蝶中心之入口。一月十五日攝於美國德州米申市。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

Mission, Texas, located in the lower Rio Grande Valley, is home to the National Butterfly Center, a private non-profit 40-hectare preserve dedicated to conservation of the insects in their natural habitat.

But the construction of part of a long-promised wall on the border with Mexico — a key plank of US President Donald Trump’s immigration policy — could end up chopping the area in half.

“This land used to be an onion field,” explains Luciano Guerra, who is responsible for education outreach at the center. “We converted it back to native habitat.”

“And when we created the habitat for the butterflies, we also attracted birds because the birds like to eat the butterflies and the caterpillars. Then we attracted things that eat the birds, and so on.” In the end, more than 200 species have been counted here. In spring and autumn, “we can have 80 to 100 species of butterflies here in one day,” Guerra says.

Along the banks of the Rio Grande, which forms a natural border with Mexico, there are also bobcats, coyotes, javelinas or skunk pigs, armadillos and Texas turtles.

Building a wall here would be “devastating,” the center says on its Web site.

According to Marianna Trevino Wright, the center’s executive director, the wall and the glaring spotlights that would come with it will disrupt the nocturnal activities of all plants and animals, transforming what is now a vibrant but endangered ecosystem into a biological desert.”

“People say, ‘Well, the butterflies can fly over it or fly through it or around it.’ “Not necessarily,” explains Guerra. “Some butterflies fly lower to the ground — they could not go over that 5.5-meter concrete wall.”

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. butterfly n.

蝴蝶 (hu2 die2)

2. preserve n.

保護區 (bao3 hu4 qu1)

3. natural habitat phr.

自然棲地 (zi4 ran2 qi1 di4)

4. border n

邊界 (bian1 jie4)

5. immigration policy phr.

移民政策 (yi2 min2 zheng4 ce4)

6. nocturnal activity phr.

夜間活動 (ye4 jian1 huo2 dong4)


Guerra also warned that “when the bulldozers come in to clear the way for the border wall, they’re going to knock down trees, plants, grasses and so on, which are host plants for the butterfly species we have here.”

Those trees also are the home of several species of birds, especially in the spring, and some mammals risk seeing their natural habitat destroyed, he added.

(AFP)

美國德州米申市位於格蘭河下游河谷,是「國家蝴蝶中心」的所在地。國家蝴蝶中心是一塊私有的、非盈利的保護區,面積有四十公頃大,致力於昆蟲自然棲地的保育。

但是,在與墨西哥接壤的邊境建造隔離牆──這是美國總統川普移民政策的關鍵部分,川普掛保證已久──最終可能會將這塊保護區攔腰切半。

「這片土地以前是洋蔥田」,該中心負責教育推廣活動的路西安諾‧蓋拉解釋道。「我們把它還原成原生棲息地。」

「我們為蝴蝶創造棲息地時,也吸引了鳥類,因為鳥類喜歡吃蝴蝶和毛蟲。然後又再吸引了吃鳥類的生物……等等諸如此類。」最後,這裡的物種共達兩百多種。在春季和秋季,「我們這裡一天中會有八十到一百種蝴蝶出現」,蓋拉說。

格蘭河在美國與墨西哥之間形成天然邊界,其沿岸還有山貓、土狼、猯豬(或稱臭鼬豬)、犰狳和德州龜。

國家蝴蝶中心的網站上說,在這裡建造一堵牆,將是「毀滅性的」。

該中心執行主任瑪莉安娜‧特雷維諾‧萊特表示,邊境牆和牆上炫目的聚光燈,將擾亂「所有植物和動物的夜間活動,把現在充滿生機但瀕危的生態系統變成生物沙漠。」

「人們說,『好吧,蝴蝶可以飛越牆,或穿越牆隙,或在牆周圍飛』,但並不見得」,蓋拉解釋道,「有些蝴蝶是靠近地面飛行──它們無法越過五點五公尺高的混凝土牆。」

蓋拉還警告說,「推土機開進來為築牆整地時,將會把樹木、植物、草等都除去,這些都是我們這裡蝴蝶物種的寄主植物。」

他補充說,這些樹木也是數種鳥類的家園,特別是在春季,而一些哺乳動物的自然棲息地也有可能會被毀壞。

(台北時報林俐凱編譯)

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