The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is home to some of Africa's most iconic animals. Black rhinos, hippos, lions, wild dogs, giraffes, and elephants all call the 19,000 sq mi area home. Scientists and conservationists found this place to be of such ecological importance that in 1982 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 it was designated a lion Conservation Unit by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
But if Tanzanian officials have their way, there won't be much of conservation going within Selous at all. Tanzania is in the midst of preparing to build a massive new dam in the heart of the Game Reserve.
Construction and its eventual completion would require the deforestation of 1,000 sq. km of pristine animal habitat.
The reservoir created would flood even more habitat. Most alarmingly, some of the last remaining stronghold for the black rhino will be destroyed, pushing this critically endangered species even closer to the edge of extinction. Thousands of villagers will also be pushed out.
UNESCO World Heritage and the IUCN have both called on Tanzania to drop their destructive plans to develop the Stiegler's Gorge dam. Urging them to halt construction and deforestation. But satellite footage has shown that the government has ignored their pleas and now the entire game reserve is at risk of losing its special status, and the animals are at risk of disappearing. Please call on the John Magufuli, president of Tanzania, and ask him to protect the rare and important species of the Selous Game Reserve. Tell him to sign cancel the Stiegler's Gorge Dam project.