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Photo of dead zebras on Kenyan highway a stark reminder of why Serengeti highway must be stopped

On Sunday, this image was posted on the fan page of Kenyans for Wildlife. Massimo Vallarin posted the image with this comment:

“Ten minutes ago, coming from Amboseli, along the Kimana – Emali Road, we got [photographed] these two zebras killed by a lorry. Very sad to see for me and my guests.”

According to Dr. Wolfgang Thome, the new road between Emali and Kimana has resulted in a sharp increase in animal deaths. According to his blog, hyenas, at least one young lion, gazelles, foxes and smaller wild cats have been killed on the same road by speeding trucks recently.

Yes, very sad indeed. And a grim reminder of what will happen on a vast scale if the plan to build a commercial road through the Serengeti is ever approved.

As our sister organization Serengeti Watch pointed out on their Facebook page yesterday, Tanzania’s tourism industry employs over 600,000 people and generates $1.23 billion in annual revenue for the country. The park fees paid by visitors to the Serengeti keep Tanzania’s other national parks in business.

So why would the government of Tanzania even consider the idea of allowing a commercial highway to be built through the park and risk destroying one of, if not the, greatest ecotourism resources on the planet? It’s especially mind-boggling when you consider that other options exist. A southern route around the park through what is already a densely populated agricultural area would serve the goal of connecting Arusha to the Lake Victoria region and benefit a lot more people.

Germany has offered to fund a feasibility study and the World Bank has offered to help fund the alternate route. Many of the roads already exist and just need to be upgraded or connected. Engineers and other experts say that the southern route would only add one hour of drive time!

If you agree that the Serengeti is too precious to risk destroying with an unnecessary and ill-conceived highway please consider sharing this story with others.