NAIROBI, Kenya – Conservationists warned on Wednesday that Tanzania's Serengeti, one of the world's natural wonders, will be scarred and the ancient migratory patterns destroyed if Tanzania's government carries through with a plan to build a highway through the park.
The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London called on Tanzania to reconsider the plan.
"The Serengeti is the site of one of the last great ungulate (hoofed) migrations left on Earth, the pre-eminent symbol of wild nature for millions of visitors and TV viewers, and a hugely important source of income for the people of Tanzania through ecotourism," said James Deutsch, executive director of the WCS's Africa Program.
"To threaten this natural marvel with a road would be a tragedy," Deutsch said.
Tanzania plans to build a 420-kilometer (260-mile) road between Arusha, near Mount Kilimanjaro, and Musoma, on Lake Victoria, in 2012. The route would bisect the northern Serengeti, potentially jeopardizing the 2 million wildebeests and zebra who migrate in search for water from the southern Serengeti north into Kenya's adjacent Masai Mara reserve.
Tanzania's government says the road is needed to connect the country's west with commercial activity on the eastern coast. The president has vowed to move forward with its construction.