Save Serengeti National Park From a Super Highway!

  • by: Maria Borges
  • target: Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera Secretary General of the East African Community

We call upon the government of Tanzania to protect the Serengeti World Heritage Site by stopping  the proposed high speed highway through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.

Currently the government of Tanzania plans to build a major commercial highway across the Serengeti National Park .  According to the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, Save the Serengeti, and The Frankfurt Zoological Society, this project would disastrously impact the entire Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, which has been protected by the people of Tanzania since the birth of their country.   The northern parts of the Serengeti and adjacent Masai Mara are essential for the great wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle migration during the dry season as it  is the only permanent year-round water source for these herds.  It is estimated that wildlife populations would likely decline from 1.3 million animals to 200,000 as a result of road construction and fence building. 

According to The Frankfurt Zoological Society, "this would mean the end of the migration as wildebeest, zebras, eland and elephant could no longer reach their only water source during the dry season, the Mara River, and thus would die at the fence-line." Similarly, Botswana has already lost its wildebeest and zebra migration due to such fences. Commercial roads in other protected areas have proved a disaster all over the world and UNESCO is very strongly recommending that no through roads should lead through any National Park or World Heritage Site. Please support the protection of the great Serengeti-Mara ecosystem by signing this petition.

To learn more read the following article from The Frankfurt Zoological Society:

http://www.zgf.de/?id=72&reportId=85&language=en

In 2009, the Government of Tanzania made known its plans to build a 452 km road as part of its Transport Sector Improvement Program (2002-2012). Part of this -a 54.9 km section- is meant to pass through the northern part of the Serengeti National Park. The construction was set to start in early 2012 which would make it a major transit route between Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo.

The African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW)  www.anaw.org moved to the East African Court of Justice, (EACJ) on December 10, 2010, asking the court to “permanently restrain” Tanzania from upgrading or tarmacking what is called the North Road – or the road from Natta-Mugumu-Klein’s Gate-Loliondo Road. The EACJ was set to settle disputes among countries in East Africa following the signing of the Treaty that established the East African Community.

Under the terms of the EAC Treaty, partner states are required to cooperate in the management of shared natural resources, notify each other of activities that are likely to have significant trans-boundary environmental impacts, and to follow protocols for Environmental Impact Assessment. http://www.eacj.org/

ANAW, together with other conservation groups, had opposed the road on the grounds that if constructed, it would have far-reaching consequences on the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem which is shared between Kenya and Tanzania. 

But before the matter could be heard and determined by EACJ’s First Instance Court, the Tanzanian Government filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to preside over the matter. However, EACJ ruled that it did indeed have such jurisdiction, a thing that Tanzania later contested in the regional Appeal Court on October 19, 2011.

On March 15 2012, the Appellate Division of the regional court ruled that indeed the EACJ has full jurisdiction to hear the case because the park was part of the transnational ecosystem straddling Kenya and Tanzania. The higher court also ruled that the matter should go to full trial.

On whether EACJ can permanently stop Tanzania from ever constructing the road, the EACJ Appellate Division ruled that this was an issue that will need to be addressed at the end of the trial and not during the initial stages.

As such, ANAW’s case against the Government of Tanzania is set to commence any time from now once the lawyers representing the two parties do what is termed Scheduling Conference.

We appeal to everyone to sign this petition which is seeking support to stop the construction of this superhighway. The signatures will be presented to the Secretary General of the East African Community at the trial.

We are also seeking to raise $17 000 for trial expenses and you can also make a donation through www.anaw.org or via check to:

ANAW – USA
55 Madison Street, Suite 750
Denver, CO 80206, USA

303-793-0962
 www.anaw.org  

*(USA Tax Deductible 501(3))

Among other things, the rich Serengeti-Mara ecosystem offers the world a unique annual spectacle in which over a million herds of herbivores (wildebeest, gazelles and zebras), followed by their predators, migrate in a most awe-inspiring ‘natural’ sight unsurpassed anywhere on earth.


We call upon everyone to help us save this World Heritage Site.

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