(eTN) – It was in May of last year, when investigations carried out by eTurboNews led to the disclosure of advanced plans by the government of Tanzania to build a highway across the migration paths of the great herds of wildebeest and zebras in the UNESCO-recognized Serengeti National Park.
Initially disputed, but in the face of growing evidence, the highway plans were finally confirmed, and it also became known that many of Tanzania’s own wildlife and conservation experts from TANAPA and SENAPA were dead against the plans but outranked by politicians, led by sycophants aimed to please their president – who at the time was on the elections trail – and when attempting to publicly voice their opposition, were told to shut up, put up, or get out. Disheartened by such totalitarian methods, a number of them eventually provided details to the media, often through third parties to prevent detection, as it is not uncommon to end up in court with framed up charges simply for opposing government, even if government is entirely wrong about something.
There are 38,757 individuals and NGOs from around the world who are now members of a still-growing coalition that is aimed at having the highway moved to the northern side of the park. This side of the park has no opposition, as has been portrayed by Tanzanian officials, and does not aim to deny the Tanzanian people of any “services.” UNESCO, the World Bank, the Frankfurt Zoological Society, WWF, AWF, IFAW, and many other globally-renowned conservation groups have joined the call for moderation and reflection of the route of this highway, but all have so far fallen on deaf ears.
The father of the Tanzanian nation, “Mwalimu” Julius Nyerere, pledged to leave the Serengeti intact and stood side by side with the late Prof. Dr. Grzimek, whose books, articles, and films “Serengeti Must Not Die” made the Serengeti known around the globe to protect and preserve the national park. Those ideals though are now being trampled into the dust, and when government’s initially well-concealed traffic projections were leaked and became widely known, it was clear that this highway would radically change and then eventually destroy the world’s largest migration route.
Estimates from experts who have studied the migration for many years are projecting a lost of 70 or more percent of the herds, as their migration, feeding, and breeding cycle faces disruption. When the initially several hundred cars a day rises to the projected figure of 3,000 cars a day, including trucks and busses, the fate of the Serengeti will be sealed and one of the world’s great natural wonders taken from mankind forever.
Tomorrow, March 19, will see events unfold around the globe, dedicated to the Serengeti and its future survival, and here is a short breakdown of key cities where conservation friends will be active tomorrow:
– In Kenya several organizations are holding a youth march in downtown Nairobi and a nature center in Kangundo is planting trees.
– In Melbourne, Australia, there will be a Walk for a Wildebeest in Melbourne.
– Zoological societies in the United States are putting up posters.
– The Chicago Field Museum will be holding a special lecture.
– In France, many school teachers are presenting programs using a special Serengeti Day curriculum, and children are writing letters.
– In Tanzania, there are talks scheduled in schools; two schools are doing a tree planting, and there will be a seminar.
– Posters are being placed around Spain.
– In Grahamstown, South Africa, there will be a poetry reading. In other parts of South Africa, students will be putting up posters.
– In Germany and the UK, people are sending petitions and postcards to Tanzanian Embassies.
– In Canada, there is a mass letter writing campaign.
Check on Facebook with the administrators of the “Stop the Serengeti Highway” site with happenings near your own location and participate if and as you can. For ease of reference, here is the FB link which puts the site only a click away: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/STOP-THE-SERENGETI-HIGHWAY/125601617471610 .
In closing, this correspondent is proud to have been the small stone which triggered this global avalanche and is particularly grateful to his colleagues at eTurboNews for continuing to keep the spotlight on these developments.