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Studies showed that the plans would sever the wildebeest population in Serengeti (Nature man2)

Victory for environmentalists as Serengeti highway plans are axed

24th June 2011

Plans to build a road cutting through the Serengeti National Park, causing disruption to the planet's largest migration of wildlife have been cancelled

In what is viewed as a victory for environmentalists, the Tanzanian government cancelled the proposed road project which planned to cut through the northern part of the Serengeti National Park following impact studies on the Park's ecosystem.

The studies showed that the project would vastly decrease the wildebeest population, of which 1.5 million cross the Park every year to migrate along with half a million antelope and zebra.

Predictions that the road would generate more than a million vehicles crossing the highway annually by 2035 initiated the studies, which revealed that the population of wildebeest could drop by a third as well as bringing in more poachers.

Environmentalists and conservationists had said that the plans, backed by Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete, could cripple the Park's ecosystem, and in turn severely damage tourism to the area.

The Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism issued a statement saying, “The State Party confirms that the proposed road will not dissect the Serengeti National Park and therefore will not affect the migration and conservation values of the Property.”

A leaked government environmental impact report was found to largely agree with the study, admitting that the road would 'limit' the Serengeti migration and sever predator populations (lions, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, crocodiles, etc.) due to a declining prey base.

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