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Old 12-30-2010, 06:07 PM   #1
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Highway to be Built Through Serengeti

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.


I just saw a segment on this on NBC News, and it said the reason why the highway is to be built is because of metals used for car batteries and cellphones are in Lake Victoria, and the shortest route from the lake to some area in Tanzania is through the Serengeti. The segment pointed out this is a chance for a poor nation like Tanzania to better their economy. But, they also risk hurting the Serengeti.

So, what is more important: protecting the environment or making lives better for humans?

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Old 12-30-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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I think you have to balance the two as much as possible-but at what point is there so much destruction of the environment that human life will always suffer no matter how much short term material gain there is? A place like the Serengeti makes all of our lives better just by the fact that it exists-doesn't it?

It does seem as if this road will ultimately achieve the opposite of what it set out to do. I think it's sad.

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Old 12-30-2010, 10:25 PM   #3
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I haven't had time to really read much about it but having been to this area (and having been on a 4 day safari in Serengeti) I would say that I would support it. After my experience there, the lack of infrastructure was what stood out to me the most. I could go on and on but don't have time at the moment. You all know how much I love animals so it's not something I personally would take lightly.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:52 PM   #4
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Terrible idea and almost entirely unnecessary given the alternatives.

There was a good article in the NY Times that explains why:

But the peculiar thing about this road is that it is not a case of animals versus people. There is an alternative — a road to the south of the park that would connect five times more people, and cost less to build. It would also be easier, since the landscape there is flatter; and it would not affect the animal migrations. And the northern road has been vigorously rejected on environmental grounds before.

Even more peculiar: up to now, the government of Tanzania has had an outstanding record of conservation. Around a quarter of the country’s area is managed with a view to preserving wildlife, and at 50,000 square kilometers (almost 20,000 square miles) the Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected area in Africa. Tanzania boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, of which four are nature reserves — including the Serengeti National Park.

Moreover, the president of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, is known for his interest in nature. When six black rhinos arrived in the Serengeti in May — they were flown in from South Africa as part of a rhino relocation program — the president himself was there to meet them, and he has often spoken of the importance of the parks to Tanzania. Indeed, he sometimes quotes Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere:

“The survival of our wildlife is a matter of grave concern to all of us in Africa. These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a resource of wonder and inspiration but are an integral part of our natural resources and our future livelihood and wellbeing. In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife we solemnly declare that we will do everything in our power to make sure that our children’s grand-children will be able to enjoy this rich and precious heritage.”

It is not clear why the Serengeti road is being considered: I was unable to reach anyone in the Tanzanian government who would comment. But what is clear is that one of the most marvelous and awe-inspiring sights on the planet might soon vanish, killed by a road.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:02 PM   #5
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There is an alternative — a road to the south of the park that would connect five times more people, and cost less to build. It would also be easier, since the landscape there is flatter; and it would not affect the animal migrations
Sounds like a win-win to me
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:14 PM   #6
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Yeah, that's what I was wondering, if there was any other alternative. Since it seems there is, then why not just go with that, then? Certainly I want the people to be able to improve their economy and such, but the thought of tearing up a spot such as that to do so...ehhh...

Not to mention, are those metals the only thing Tanzania can build its economy off of, too? Are there other things they may not have thought of working with, or other areas closer to them that can give them something to help their economy grow?

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Old 12-31-2010, 02:57 PM   #7
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I think every solution is going to come at some cost/sacrifice. Tanzania is a fabulous place and the parks bring in huge tourism but at the same time there are so many people living in completely disconnected, underdeveloped communities. One time we took a small bus out to this community, it was only a few km drive but took two hours because of the condition of the "road". When we got there we met a gentleman who had lived with untreated HIV for 6 years while free medications were available to him the entire time but he had no way of actually getting them until a Catholic hospital was setup, a "hospital" with one general surgeon and a handful of nurses (and at the time the dr to patient ratio in TZ was 1:200,000). I'm not familiar with TZ exports and natural resources but one problem in the area as a whole is that no one wants to invest anything into their economy. No one moves there, starts businesses there, invests in businesses there. Most of my friends and family had never even heard of the country or had any idea where to find it on a map. Then factor in the total lack of infrastructure and the health crises that plague most of the rural population (dr/patient ratio, traditional customs and practices that are damaging to health, the HIV infection rates, malaria....) and the situation becomes very grim. Our instructor at the time is a very successful businessman and told us that if we went back, not to go back to work in a mission but to buy a house and get jobs there so we are putting our money into their economy. When we stayed in this tiny commune on Lake Victoria I felt like I was on another planet. I couldn't help but think of how real estate like that would cost millions in the US and there we were washing with a bucket and staying in mud huts. The cities are pretty developed but I believe most of the population is rural.
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:02 PM   #8
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The proposal requires careful analysis. The highway will definitely have a huge environmental impact. Lots of animals will die ! And it it will increase the barrier effect. But it may not be a terrible idea under the circumstances.

There is a technique of calculating the intrinsic value of wild life to calculate the cost of environmental impact due to animal mortality. Then a cost-effectiveness analysis is done to answer the question "Is it economically feasible?"

If it is (to a acceptable extent) and if there is no economically feasible alternate route, then

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