The Balkan region, already threatened by the construction of highways and dams, is now being carved into increasingly constricted and less hospitable chunks by a new threat: border fencing. Those effects are now being felt by the region’s migratory wild animals.
In the past year or so, hundreds of miles of razor wire-topped barriers have been erected across southeastern Europe in an effort to halt the movement of refugees escaping wars and poverty in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa.
Even as the migration crisis has eased this year, fences continue to go up. Not only do the fences kill wildlife and lead to genetic isolation, according to a June 2016 study published in the journal PLOS Biology, but these barriers also hamper the efforts of organizations such as the European Wilderness Society (EWS), which is working to protect and expand existing wilderness throughout Europe.