A Road in the Serengeti

As a National Park and World Heritage Site, the Serengeti is home to what is billed as the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa, with great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle.

Wildebeest 1Conservationists are celebrating a recent decision by the Tanzanian government which had decided to not go ahead with a road that would have dissected the Serengeti. The Serengeti, as you may already know, is home to the largest migration of land mammals in our world. The proposed road would have dissected their route and disrupted the migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, antelope, and zebra.

In a letter to the Tanzanian government, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) last June suggested that development be balanced with good conservation planning. AWF respectfully requested that the Government reject the road proposal, and offered alternative route recommendations that would achieve similar commercial goals without degrading this treasured National Park.

The AWF now hopes that the Government of Tanzania will confirm the decision to construct a tarmac highway along a southern route that doesn’t dissect the Serengeti. The AWF also hopes that Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) will enforce all normal park rules for the unpaved section of the road in northern Serengeti including maintaining park gates, closing the road at sunset, charging park entry fees to all vehicles using the park road, and prohibiting commercial through traffic. If this southern road is built, and TANAPA follows its normal conservation practices on the gravel road, this new plan could represent a workable and acceptable outcome, says AWF CEO Patrick Bergin.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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