Working for birds in Africa

The Serengeti highway must be stopped now

Date posted: 
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Government of Tanzania is planning a major commercial highway across the Serengeti National Park, linking the Lake Victoria area with eastern Tanzania. The Government, via its agency TANROADS, proposes to construct a 171.5km road that will directly traverse the Wildebeest Migration route. It is part of a bigger plan to connect the proposed new port at Tanga to Musoma on Lake Victoria via Arusha and Lake Natron’s shores.

The road will be funded by the Tanzanian Government and the section from Serengeti to Musoma is estimated to cost £144 million. The Government has contracted two companies - one Indian and the other based in Tanzania - to jointly undertake an Environment and Social Impact Assessment, which we believe is to be completed before the end of the year. If the project is given the go-ahead then construction is likely to start at the beginning of 2012.

The area is home to over 450 bird species. These include three Tanzanian endemic species and two globally threatened species: the Grey-crested Helmet Shrike and Karamoja Apalis, a rare African warbler. It is thought that one third of Africa’s Ruppell’s Vultures use the Serengeti ecosystem.

Now this extraordinary national park and its wildlife are in great peril.

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