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Tanzania: Conservationists seek Serengeti road freeze

Source:  Copyright 2010, Agence France-Presse
Date:  December 8, 2010
Original URL: Status DEAD

An African conservation group said Wednesday it would ask a regional court to freeze a project to build a road through Tanzania's iconic Serengeti park.

It said it would seek an injunction from the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) "to restrain the United Republic of Tanzania from constructing a super highway through the Serengeti Game Reserve."

The Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) argues that the road, which would slice right through the northern Tanzania park, is unlawful since it violates provisions of the East African Community Treaty.

The group said Tanzania was vowing to proceed with the project despite a raft of negative consequences clearly identified in an impact study it ordered.

ANAW listed increased poaching, disruption of a key migration corridor, increased mortality due to collisions with speeding vehicles and deterioration of air quality as some of the worst consequences of the planned road.

The project's proponents in the Tanzanian government argue the road would link some remote under-developed communities to larger hubs and say that it is time the country started caring for its people as much as it does for wildlife.

Critics say it would destroy one of the planet's greatest natural spectacles: the annual great wildebeest migration.

The Serengeti Highway is supposed to link Musoma, on the banks of Lake Victoria, to Arusha, cutting through a swathe of park into which giant herds of wildebeests bottleneck every summer to seek Kenya's pastures.

The project's critics say the road would achieve the opposite of what it set out to do by destroying a key tourist attraction and stripping local communities of their jobs.

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