The Tanzanian government has revised plans to build a highway in Serengeti National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa and considered one of the most important natural parks in the world. According to Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Ezekiel Maige, 30 miles of the planned 300-mile route would bisect the park but would remain unpaved. The decision is a nod to pressure from conservation groups and international donors, who have urged the government to reroute the highway around the park. The highway would run from Arusha, the Tanzanian capital 300 miles north along the Kenyan border to Musoma, a city on Lake Victoria. Conservationists have raised concerns that the road would risrupt the migratory patterns the the nearly one million wildebeast that travel north in search of food each spring, and put a variety of animals at risk to illegal poaching and traffic accidents. But the Tanzanian government says the road is badly needed by Serengeti residents, who lack access to basic services and medical care. The argument reflects a long-standing tension among conservationist and governments. “[Y]ou guys always talk about animals, but we need to think about people,” Tanzanian official Salvator Rweyemamu said in October. The Tanzanian parliament is still considering whether to approve financing for the highway.
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