The African Regional Manager for the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Mr. Gerald Bigurube, confirmed that the German government will finance construction of tarmac roads that will link dozens of rural villages adjacent to the Serengeti National Park.
He also said that the World Bank and the German government are also ready to finance southern route that will link the Arusha region with the Lake Victoria regions without crossing the Serengeti. According to an interview with the Daily News, Mr. Bigurube said, "Linking rural villages in Serengeti and Loliondo districts with the their district headquarters is the best way of addressing economic needs of the communities living near the park."
The news article says Mr. Bigurube "disclosed that the German Federal Ministry for Development was ready to finance feasibility study of the rural roads in the districts if the idea will have blessings from the government of Tanzania." He said the "international community is also concerned with the needs of the people in an environmental friendly way but the road should not be close to the park because it will have serious impact that cannot be mitigated."
The next step is up to President Kikwete who recently turned down an offer from the World Bank to fund the alternate route.
All of the above information was provided by the incredible non-profit group: Serengeti Watch which has been building a strong coalition of support, advocacy, and funding for the Serengeti ecosystem, the people living around it, and the adjacent reserves and protected areas!
Last week I attended the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show and had the wonderful opportunity to speak with the Canadian Ambassador of Tanzania. I reiterated the concerns I and my fellow friends & conservationists have regarding the proposed highway through the Serengeti and encouraged him to relay this information back to his superiors. I also informed him that my family and I are planning a trip to Tanzania in July 2012 but the lack of concern the government is currently showing towards its ecosystem and wildlife is very upsetting to us and we just might change our travel plans and put our money elsewhere and choose another country to spend our money in. He was extremely polite, courteous and agreed with my concerns! Let's hope he does tell his government that their ill-advised plan is affecting not only the greatest migration on earth but also the tourists who spend millions of dollars to see it each year!!