The Great Migration. It is one of the planet’s most breath taking and exceptional natural phenomena. This miraculous migration of over 2 million land mammals includes both hooved animals, such as Wildebeest, Gazelle, Zebra, and Eland; and herbivores, such as Topi, Impala, African Buffalo, Kongoni, Giraffe, Warthog, Waterbuck, and Elephant. This vast migration takes place on the endless Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, starting in the South and traveling North and back again. These animals follow an annual circular route around the Serengeti Ecosystem in an endless quest for fresh pastures and water. Not only do they travel over 500 thousand miles round trip for survival, they defy nature’s odds with their strong migratory instinct that defies crocodile-infested rivers, wild currents, and flocks of predators, including lions and hyenas, lying in wait.
However, Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, has different plans for the Serengeti National Park. Kikwete has already planned and decided to build a national highway directly through the Sergengeti, directly bisecting the Great Migration route. Buses, cars, and overhauled trucks will take over this highway, undeniably effecting the wildlife and their survival methods. Scientists and conservation groups are desperately warning Kikwete of this dangerous and very serious decision; this highway has the potential to irreversibly damage the entire Serengeti ecosystem, one of the great wonders of our planet. This highway will fragment the annual migration, making the Wildebesst turn back, which will lead to a domino effect on all the other animals, causing the entire ecosystem to crash.
No matter what the effect on the Serengeti and it’s millions of wildlife, president Kikwete will not budge. His perspective on this decision is to think not of the animals, but of the people living in Tanzania. He advocates that this highway will bring about cheaper goods, bring towns together, create easier transportation to hospitals, and ultimately one day get electricity to the town. However, as all of these are great prospects for the people of Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park is what keeps this town alive. Countless people survive on the touristic attractions of the Serengeti, which gets more than 100,000 visitors each and every year, producing millions of dollars for Tanzania’s business. With a highway to destroy this precious ecosystem of wildlife, there will be less and less tourists each year, with less and less profit for Tanzania.
A national highway through the Serengeti. It is an extremely delicate situation that has the potential to single handedly enhance or destroy one of the planet’s most spectacular and precious ecosystems and way of life. This decision lies in the hand’s of one man, who the world can only hope will make the best decision for every living component involved.