photo: David Berkowitz/Creative Commons
It seems some news we thought we learned about ten days ago, about the controversial road through Serengeti National Park in Tanzania being called off, wasn't entirely correct. The Tanzanian Natural Resources and Tourism minister has now said that though the originally-planned pave road will not be built, an unpaved road is still going ahead. Ezekial Maige has said:
The Serengeti road project has not been abandoned...we have just revised it. I don't know where all this confusion comes from. The project is still there without a shadow of a doubt. But the road will be unpaved, so there will be no tarmac road or highway traversing through the Serengeti National Park. (Mongabay)
In its original form, a paved road would have run through the northern part of the park, something which conservationist Richard Leakey, and a whole host of other perhaps less famous conservationists, has said will eventually end the annual wildebeest migration.
The fear is that even with a dirt track, it will open up the area for potential future development, which in turn will increase pressure to pave it and break the millennia-old rhythm of non-human life in the region.
However, Leakey has said that many critics of the road are wrongly focusing their efforts in entirely opposing the road. Leakey says that building the road is inevitable and it really is an opportunity, perhaps one that is now lost, based on the minister's statements, to building a wildlife-friendly road. Leakey notes that is possible to build a road that "serves the wildlife migration and development needs of that part of Tanzania...It could have been a showcase for the rest of Africa and the world."