The Serengeti is under threat. If you long for a safari in the Serengeti or want to protect the great migration in East Africa, read more.
Serengeti Day is both a celebration of the remarkable Serengeti ecosystem and an appeal to the world community to come to its aid.
A commercial route through the Serengeti will not only devastate the ecosystem and the great migration, but will hurt the people of Tanzania by destroying tourism revenue, tens of thousands of jobs, and a proud legacy of conservation.
It’s the greatest threat in the Serengeti’s history — The government of Tanzania has approved a major commercial highway across the Serengeti National Park in the direct path of ancient wildlife migration routes.
- The Serengeti National Park and surrounding ecosystem are home to one of the greatest animal migrations on earth. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and represents nearly a quarter of Tanzania’s foreign exchange earnings.
- The government of Tanzania has recently affirmed its plans to go ahead with the highway, despite warnings. The government’s own environmental impact study predicts 800 vehicles a day by 2015 and 3,000 a day (a million a year!) by 2035.
- Wildlife researchers, ecologists, and environmental organizations warn that the highway will have devastating impact on the migration of more than 2 million wildebeests, zebras and other species.
- Heavy truck traffic will result in:
> loss of wildlife and human life through accidents.
> fragmentation of habitat and alteration of water and soil systems.
> increased introduction of animal disease and alien plant life.
> increased poaching by organized gangs.
- Areas to the west of the Serengeti are already heavily populated. The northwestern section of the Park is a critical area for wildebeest, which use it as a refuge for much of the year. A highway will add even more human population and development.
- Areas to the east of the Serengeti will be radically transformed as people migrate there and change land use from cattle grazing to farming. These areas are crucial dispersal zones for the migrating herds.
- Scientists and conservationists warn that net effect would alter and possibly eliminate the annual wildlife migration. The Serengeti National Park would certainly be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger List as the road itself would cease to be part of the Serengeti, cutting the Park into two sections.
- Travel industry experts from around the world have warned that the resulting changes in the Serengeti and the migration would damage Tanzania’s image and seriously harm its tourist industry. If highway construction were started, they warn of a possible boycott of tourism to Tanzania by world travelers.
- A good alternative exists: A southern route (see map) would completely bypass the Serengeti and provide much more economic benefit to towns and villages along the route.
- The number of people served and benefiting from the northern route would be about 431,000. The number of people served and benefiting from the alternate southern route would be about 2,278,000 more than 5 times that of the damaging northern route. (source: Frankfurt Zoological Society)
- The amount of new road required for the southern route would actually be less than the route through the Park. (source: Frankfurt Zoological Society)
- Funding for this project has not been identified. Any investment, however, would benefit very few people compared to the alternate route, at the same time damaging Tanzania’s tourism industry.
Sites to visit for further details:
Map of Impact:
Serengeti National Park, showing existing and proposed routes. The northern section of the Park (in yellow) crossed by the road (in red) is a critical area for the migration. Much of it is currently designated a Wilderness Zone, meaning that it is only open to Serengeti National Park vehicles for poaching patrol.
The alternative southern route (shown in black and green) linking Lake Victoria with the eastern part of the country is only approximate. Some of this road exists, other sections need to be built.
Show your support. If enough of us speak, perhaps our voices will be heard.