EcoAlert: Road Will Cut Off Main Serengeti Wildlife Migration Route

Mtkilimanjaro A new form of gridlock may be coming to the Serengenti. The Tanzania government plans to build a commercial road in the north of Serengeti National Park, cutting through the annual migratory route of two million wildebeest and zebra severing the animals 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. The region 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, recommending that the government carry out a full assessment of the road's environmental impact. Elsewhere, 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. President Kikwete is reported to have said the best he could do was to leave the part of the road that crossed the migratory route unpaved.

Jason McManus




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