EU asked to stop Poland from building border wall through forests

Around twenty bison on land, animal news
A herd of bison on the field on border between Belarus and Poland, January 26, 2022, photo: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Around 150 environmental organizations asked the European Commission on Tuesday to intervene and stop Poland from building a wall through forests where bison, lynx and other animals live.

In January, Poland started building a 186 km (115.6 miles) metal border barrier to stop people from entering the country via Belarus.

The wall will go through several protected Natura 2000 areas, including the Bialowieza Forest, home to the lynx, European bison and other endangered species. The organizations from 25 countries say the wall will divide animal habitats and interrupt ecological connectivity.

“We oppose the construction of this horrible wall, which will be ineffective in stopping the migration crisis while risking the collapse of protected species such as lynx,” said Augustyn Mikos from the Polish ecological organization Association Workshop for All Beings.

“We call on the European Commission, which is the guardian of the EU’s Treaties and Laws, to urgently take action to stop this barrier that goes against all European human rights principles and is in infringement of EU law on nature,” Mikos said.

The organizations say the decision to build the wall was taken without public consultations or an environmental impact assessment.

Poland said building the border wall did not require such an assessment, and to limit its impact on wildlife over 20 animal crossings would be made.

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