Borderlands Exposed

Borderlands Exposed

Susan Cosier
Published: 05/01/2009

Tinajas Altas mountains, courtesy of Kevin Schafer, ILCP

Carnivorous cats creep into cottonwood forests, waterfowl wade against brilliant blue skies, and pig-like jabalinas forage for fruit. Those are just a few of the images captured for the International League of Conservation Photographer’s Borderlands project.

A team of photographers, including some who have been featured on the pages of Audubon, like Roy Toft and Jeff Foott, traveled to the deserts, grasslands, forests, and rivers in January and February to document wildlife and the increasingly obstructed border between the United States and Mexico.

Border fence construction, courtesy of Wendy Shattil, ILCP

Part of the ILCP’s Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions, the Borderlands project is one of many such trips to locations where habitats and the wildlife within them are threatened. The group of 13 photographers displayed their work in Washington, D.C. this week and met with congressmen in an effort to support the Borderlands Conservation and Security Act. The bill, if passed, will require the Department of Homeland Security to follow the Endangered Species Act and other environmental protections waived by Congress so that the wall could be built quickly.

Javelina, courtesy of Chris Linder, ILCP

"It’s going to be a difficult struggle because it’s such a hot political issue, but it seemed like everyone was charged to make this happen and restore law to the borderlands," says RAVE team leader Krista Schlyer.

The border fence, courtesy of Roy Toft, ILCP

Shoot locations in Arizona, Mexico, and Texas included the San Pedro River, where "over the past year, this last free flowing river in Arizona, one of the last in the southwest and a critical haven for wildlife, has been the site of massive construction," according to the photographers' blog.

“One of our main goals is to try to get people in the U.S. to see how amazing and incredibly biodiverse this region is and to give people a better picture of what this region’s like and what damage is being done to both people and wildlife from the construction,” says Schlyer.

A successfully reintroduced beaver in Mexico, courtsey of Claudio Contreras Koob, ILCP

Over the next six months, the photographers will be showcasing their work in various places across the country, so keep an eye out for this stunning display of images.

The Rio Grande River, courtesy of Ian Shive, ILCP