The World Bank has offered Tanzania an alternative to stop a major road project across the Serengeti national park that conservationists say threatens one of Africa's biggest wildlife spectacles. Conservation groups say the government's planned highway through the northern edge of the Serengeti would hinder the annual migration of some 2 million wildebeest.
Tanzania's government is planning a 54 kilometre long road through the Serengeti National Park. "Construction of the road as planned would have irreversible consequences for the World Natural Heritage, in particular with regard to the annual migration of 1.3 million animals," warned Dirk Niebel, German Minister of Development.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete directly contradicted his own government's study by claiming that a planned highway in the Serengeti National Park will not be the environmental disaster conservationists and scientists are claiming it to be.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - An environmental impact study on a road Tanzania wants to build through the Serengeti found that it may affect the famed wildebeest migration and threaten endangered species, according to a copy of the leaked report. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, though, says his government will continue with plans to build the 33.5-mile (54-kilometer) road through the park. Kikwete said the road will remain unpaved and that Tanzania "will do nothing to hurt the Serengeti."
The feasibility study for the proposed construction of the Arusha-Musoma highway has been completed and the project is ready for execution once funds have been raised. The Regional manager for the Tanzania Roads Agency Mr Desdedit Kakoko revealed in Arusha that the consultancy firms which undertook the preliminary study have already submitted their reports: "The task was conducted by Ms Kyong-Dong of Korea and a local firm, Ms Ambicon," said the regional TANROADS manager.
In 2010, Tanzania's government announced extremely controversial plans for a 53-kilometre long commercial highway to run East-West through the Serengeti; Tanzania's oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The announcement caused worldwide concern, with catastrophic consequences forecast such as a collapse of the world's last terrestrial mass migration (of wildebeest), as well as its supported ecosystems.
Despite world protest and a recent offer from the World Bank, Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania, states that the northern route through the Serengeti will be built. For many months we've been asking lending institutions and donor governments to fund an alternative, southern route. To date, we have more than 25,000 signatures on our "Find and Fund an Alternative to the Serengeti Highway" petition. We know our collective voice has been heard.
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, Democratic Republic of Congo - Three rangers and five Congolese soldiers were killed this morning in an attack on their patrol vehicle in Congo's Virunga National Park that park officials are calling the worst attack on patrols in over a year.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), yesterday, assumed the chair of the Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration (GVTC), an initiative established to protect wildlife within the Virunga Massif that covers Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. The Virunga massif is the home of the Mountain Gorillas. The handover ceremony took place in Kigali with Uganda's Dr Andrew Ggunga Seguya passing on the baton to Cosma Wilungula of DRC.
Following the killing and de-horning of the newly imported Rhinocerous in Serengeti, authorities have deployed aircrafts to patrol the vast park.
Speaking in Serengeti recently the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Ezekiel Maige explained that aerial patrolling was among the various effort by the government to reinforce security in Serengeti.
The government has stressed that plans for construction of the proposed 480-km Arusha-Musoma highway through the Serengeti National Park are still on despite mounting pressures from local and international activists. Speaking here exclusively after inspecting the construction of the Arusha-Namanga highway, minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli explained: "There is no way we can stop constructing this important road."
A leading Pan-African organisation dealing with human rights and animal welfare has filed a case at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) in Arusha, against the proposed construction of a highway through Serengeti plains. The African Network for Animal Welfare is seeking an interim order of injunction to restrain the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania from constructing the proposed Arusha-Musoma highway which is reportedly going to cut through the Serengeti National Park.
Dar es Salaam — Despite the great uproar raised internationally against the proposed highway across the Serengeti National Park, the government is yet to come to a conclusion about the project, it was officially learnt here yesterday. "In principle, the government has not made any decision on the construction of the road," Natural Resources and Tourism minister, Mr Ezekiel Maige affirmed to The Citizen.
The name Serengeti is a corruption by English and Swahili of the Maasai word Siringet. Siringet means a vast land that runs forever. Our modern understanding of Serengeti is that it is a straight and elongated grassland ecosystem, which is interspersed with wooded savanna and shrublands. In 1959, German bush pilot and filmmaker Alan Root made a film about the wildlife of Serengeti called "Serengeti Shall Not Die". The film made an attempt to unravel the complex interrelationships between the predators and the prey that inhabit this wonderful ecosystem.
A change in the spectacular wildebeest migration schedule in the great Serengeti-Mara ecosystem has caught ecologists offguard. Traditionally, the wildebeest used to roam in Maasai Mara Game Reserve for at least three months and return to Serengeti National park, but this year they are reported to have spent less than the usual period.