An Offering for Día de los Muertos

We at Sky Island Alliance recently had the opportunity to honor wildlife killed at the U.S.-Mexico border wall by creating a Día de los Muertos ofrenda, or altar, on display for the public at the Tucson Presidio Museum. The animals we’re honoring this year include mule deer, striped skunks, Texas tortoises, and javelinas. All have lost their lives due to direct impacts from the border structures currently in place.

As you can see in the photo below, the green mountains backdrop in the center is framed by vertical border wall bollards with black-and-white animal skulls appearing between the metal slats. This represents the effects of the border wall on wildlife, as it prevents their natural passage to find food, water, and mates.

The carved linocut prints and painted backdrop were made by SIA Wildlife Specialist Meagan Bethel.

And colorful flowers, acorns, mushrooms, gourds, and fall foliage were added to represent some of the animals’ favorite foods and habitat to welcome them as their spirits briefly return to this world.

The ofrenda will be on display Wednesday, Oct. 25, to Sunday, Nov. 5., from 10-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday and is included in the museum’s price of admission. More details available at the museum’s website.

Learn more about our Border Wildlife Study and how we’re monitoring the impacts of the border wall on our wildlife community.