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Miles of barbed wire removed to save Arizona wildlife

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 8:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - This week, state agencies and volunteers are working together to remove several miles of dangerous barbed wire fencing in Tucson’s west valley.

“Some animals like deer, big horn sheep, mountain lions, they need to travel long distances in order to get the resources they need to survive, to thrive, to interact with others of their species so we can keep those gene pools robust and healthy for generations to come,” Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Scott Sprague said.

Acres and acres of abandoned barbed wire fencing is stopping animals from thriving. The fence was once used to keep livestock safe, but now that the livestock is gone, the wiring is a hazard for native wildlife. Not only does it keep them from food and water, but if the animal gets caught, it could potentially kill them.

“It hasn’t been maintained either. So, if the wires are loose, it’s actually more of a risk for animals to get caught up in it when it’s not tensioned properly,” Sprague says.

This new partnership between public agencies and conservation groups has been a long time coming. Executive director of Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, Carolyn Campbell says she’s been wanting to tackle this project for years after the city of Tucson took over the land. She says tons of wildlife frequent the area.

“We have the different mountain ranges and the different protected areas and they need room to roam so they need to be going through these areas,” she said.

She’s ecstatic to see the project finally come to life. Tucsonans as well as snowbirds and tourists came out in full force to lend a hand.

“It’s really heartwarming to know that so many people can get together. None of our organizations can do it by ourselves. It’s just an overwhelming problem,” she said.

The job is not done yet. Campbell says they are hoping to organize another project to remove even more abandoned wire in the near future.

If you would like to volunteer for the next project, you can find details here.

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