Tuesday, June 28, 2011
SERENGETI ROAD SCRAPPED OVER WILDLIFE CONCERNS
Controversial plans to build a tarmac road across the Serengeti National Park have been scrapped after warnings that it could devastate wildlife.
The Tanzanian government planned a two-lane highway across the park to connect Lake Victoria with coastal ports. But studies showed it could seriously affect animals such as wildebeest and zebra, whose migration is regarded as among the wonders of the natural world.
The government confirmed the road across the park will remain gravel.
The bat-eared fox is another Serengeti resident, and depends on wildebeest for much of its food.
In a letter sent to the World Heritage Centre in Paris, the Department of Natural Resources and Tourism says the 50km (30-mile) section of road across the park will "continue to be managed mainly for tourism and administrative purposes, as it is now".
The government is considering an alternative route for a major trade highway that would run to the south of the park.
This would avoid areas of high conservation value, and - although a longer route - would bring the opportunities afforded by a modern transport link to more people.
Last year, a group of scientists warned that the proposed road across the park could bring the number of wildebeest in the park, estimated at about 1.3 million, down to 300,000.
Collisions between animals and traffic would be unavoidable, they said.
And with a corridor on either side of the road taken out of the hands of the park authorities and given to the highways agency, fencing would almost certainly result, blocking movement of the herds.
If wildlife were damaged, they warned, that could also affect the local economy, in which tourism plays a major role.
Written by; Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News
Posted by; Deodatus Kiriba-YET 2011