Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Serengeti Highway

I didn't realize that the plans were still going full-steam ahead until I read this article.

LOOK out wildebeest, here come the cars. Tanzania's government plans to build a commercial road in the north of Serengeti National Park, cutting through the migratory route of 2 million wildebeest and zebra.
The road would cut the animals off from their dry-season watering holes, causing the wildebeest population to dwindle to just a quarter of current levels, says the Frankfurt Zoological Society in Germany. It could also be a collision zone for humans and animals, leading to casualties on both sides, and there is a risk that transported livestock would spread disease, the society adds.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has written to Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete to voice its concerns. While praising Tanzania's commitment to conservation, noting that 38 per cent of its land is already protected, the IUCN recommends carrying out a full assessment of the road's environmental impact.
Meanwhile, the African Wildlife Foundation is campaigning for the road's path to be altered so that it passes south of the park, avoiding the migration route.
Despite the ongoing campaign, the road is set to go ahead, with construction kicking off in 2012. In a recent speech, Kikwete said the best he could do was to leave the part of the road that crossed the migratory route unpaved.

I wonder what the impacts will be on the Mara...
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