FRANKFURT ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY REITERATES OPPOSITION TO SERENGETI HIGHWAY
A four day conservation workshop at the Seronera headquarters of the Serengeti National Park ended with both encouragement and praise for Tanzanias conservation efforts but also calls to stop any plans to build a highway across the parks sensitive migration routes. Frankfurt Zoological Societys Director Dr. Christoph Schenk was quoted by a source of having made special reference to the misguided highway plans, which could irrevocably destroy the habitat and migration patterns of the great herds, which annually migrate across hundreds of miles in search of fresh pasture. A global coalition formed nearly two years ago when news were broken here of the intention of the Tanzanian government to build a highway across the park, arguably to facilitate powerful mining interests alleged to have generously supported the ruling partys election campaign at the time, and while changing positions and statements have ever since dominated the headlines, the plans were never fully thrown out.
The World Bank and several governments have since offered to finance the feasibility study of an alternate Southern route around the park, benefitting a substantially greater population, but in a game of cat and mouse were such suggestions both shot down in flames as well as lukewarmly embraced by various officials in the Tanzanian government.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society has since the days of the late Prof. Dr. Grzimek supported the Serengeti, made globally known by Grzimeks books and TV series Serengeti must not die and the park and its administration have benefited from constant financial and logistical support by FZS.
In addition is the ecosystem of the Serengeti now under potential threat by a new proposed railway line connecting the Indian Ocean coast from the port of Tanga to Musoma on Lake Victoria, with the most direct and financially most affordable option leading right across the park, similar to the routing initially mapped out for the highway. While sections of Tanzanias politicians have denied any plans to cut the Serengeti apart by such a traffic axis, others have remained either shtumm on the subject or else vocally supported in particular the highway option, claiming opponents were agents of the West with the intention to keep Africa in bondage and poverty by denying the continent development. Watch this space as this sage is sure to rear its ugly head ever so often again in the future.