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Serengeti Migration

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Serengeti Migration

For untold centuries
Migration has taken place
In the area known as the Serengeti.
A great moving mass of mammals,
Wildebeest, antelope and zebra
Covered the plain as far as the eye could see.
Spectacular, astounding – words fail…
A broad river of beasts
Driven by hardship and instinct:
The will to survive.
There are plans afoot
To interfere with nature
And someone will undoubtedly
Suffer the consequences.

©DGA 15 August 2011 09:31

~~~

Great Migration

Around October, nearly two million herbivores travel from the northern hills toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara River, in pursuit of the rains. In April, they then return to the north through the west, once again crossing the Mara River. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Circular Migration.

Some 250,000 wildebeest die during the journey from Tanzania to Maasai Mara Reserve in lower Kenya, a total of 800 kilometres (500 mi). Death is usually from thirst, hunger, exhaustion, or predation.[1] The migration is chronicled in the 1994 documentary film, Africa: The Serengeti. In early 2007 J.Michael Fay had found another large migration in Southern Sudan, of about 800,000 kob and tiang, which now rivals the migration in the Serengeti.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serengeti

~~~

Proposed Serengeti Road Could Halt Migration
4/19/2011

When you think of Serengeti National Park you think of vast landscapes dotted with millions of wildebeest, gazelles, lions and even the elusive rhino. One of the largest draws for people to the Serengeti is the annual migration these animals take to find fertile grasslands. Now imagine the Serengeti cut in two by a 300 mile road. Would the migration continue despite the new road? Would animals and drivers be killed in wildlife-vehicle collisions due to increased traffic? Would the possibility of poaching increase in an area that is already struggling to control the illegal practice? Would the Serengeti continue to be the thriving ecosystem that is considered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world?

We could see this scenario play out if the Tanzanian government goes forward with its plan to build a road across the Serengeti. The proposed road would connect key towns by Lake Victoria and eastern Tanzania. Although the proposal is for a gravel road, it is believed that with increased mobility between towns, it is only a matter of time before the road is paved. Paving will increase the speed as well as the amount of traffic and therefore increase the threats to wildlife.

The consequences of this proposed road would be catastrophic for the Serengeti, so much so that it risks permanently ending the annual migrations. The road would become a physical barrier for the migration, either by creating such as nuisance that the animals won’t cross or by causing deadly accidents if they do attempt the crossing. Is there a way to mitigate these negative effects so the road can be built and the migrations can continue? Unfortunately, no. Any form of fencing to keep animals from crossing the road would only create another barrier to the migration or could entangle animals that attempt to cross. Over and underpasses would not be used by over a million animals running on their frantic migration.

Because of the devastating effects this road would have on the Serengeti, international conservation experts have begun speaking out against the proposal. The World Bank has offered funds to build a road around the southern portion of the park, but the Tanzanian government is sticking to the initial plans. Construction of the highway is expected to begin in 2012.

For more information check out these links:

The Guardian: Serengeti Highway Threatens National Park’s Wildebeest Migration Business Daily Africa: Controversy Over Serengeti Road Plan Deepens The Telegraph: Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park Facing ‘Collapse’ Due to Highway Plans Global Post: Tanzania: Highway Threatens Serengeti Migration

Megan Brown
Defenders of Wildlife
http://www.transwildalliance.org/blog/?eid=86

About the TransWild Alliance:
The TransWild Alliance is a coalition of conservation advocacy organizations dedicated to reducing the impacts of highways on wildlife and natural resources.

Author: adeeyoyo

I am a middle-aged South African woman, living in Johannesburg. I began writing poetry towards the end of May 2010. I love animals – sometimes more than people! I am back after a break. Thanks for still being here, if you are! Missed you! xxx

22 thoughts on “Serengeti Migration

  1. “plans afoot” – great pun on migration

    Like

  2. On a similar but infinitely smaller scale, roads were built around our housing estate.
    A large pond was the breeding ground for frogs, and each summer would see a mass migration of thousands of baby frogs from the pond across one road.
    Each year a huge number were killed by passing cars.
    Now we never see the baby frogs. I guess the numbers were eventually reduced below
    the sustainability level.

    Spectacular picture Denise. I have seen TV programmes on the serengeti migrations.
    Thanks
    John.

    Like

    • When I lived in Natal, John, we also had a mass migration of frogs across the road that fronted our house with the same result you speak of.

      What doesn’t make sense in the light of this proposed road is that I thought all fences separating various game reserves were being dismantled just because of the migrations and animals being killed trying to scale the fences and also dying of hunger and thirst. This proposed road, however, will lead to mass deaths of animals to say nothng about vehicle accidents.

      Like

  3. What can be done to stop this dreadful deed? What about a world wide petition?

    Please let me know if there is anything at all that can be done!

    Like

    • I only saw the second article on the internet today, Patrecia. If I find anyone taking any action I’ll do a post on it so that we can support them.

      Like

  4. This is shocking!

    Like

  5. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, Cindy.

    Like

  6. I know what is going to the top of my prayer list! WHY oh WHY do we keep doing to this to the creation for which we are supposed to be STEWARDS, and not DESTROYERS???

    When are people going to figure out that it is actually possible – indeed mandatory – that we can take care of human needs without harming those of our fellow citizens on this planet? God designed it that way, and we keep ignoring it – and all in the name of “progress, and MONEY!”

    Thanks for the post, Dee, and I also love your poem. How are you feeling – besides overwhelmed with sadnesss about this “road to modernity?” I can see that you are doing a great thing: posting this vital information! Thanks so much!

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    • I agree, Paula. Sometimes I am ashamed of belonging to the human race!

      I am feeling good thanks, Paula, and walking more and exercising every day…

      Like

  7. This will be a tragedy – with tourism as one of their biggest sources of income, if not the biggest, why would they do this?

    Like

  8. Loved your poem, especially:

    A great moving mass of mammals,
    Wildebeest, antelope and zebra
    Covered the plain as far as the eye could see.
    Spectacular, astounding – words fail…
    A broad river of beasts
    Driven by hardship and instinct:
    The will to survive.

    As for the rest . . . people are STUPID and SHORT SIGHTED!!!
    And some people/governments are more stupid and short sighted than others.

    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

    Like

  9. Very depressing! Let’s hope they see sense.

    Like

    • If they press on with this then they are going to have a lot to answer for. People are not as ignorant as they were even a few years ago, and now there is no excuse for doing something like this, Gabe. They will probably find that the road will only be a viable option for x number of months per year.

      Like

  10. this is scary to me when we start messing with habitats…not that it stops us for the sake of modern convenience but at somepoint the elastic has to snap back you know…

    Like

  11. Denise, what an extraordinary event and how beautifully you describe it. It would indeed be a disaster if the road were built. What a clumsy lumbering animal man can be at times.

    Like

  12. I feel very sad about Johnell74’s frogs. What a terrible shame. And this – interfering with the migration to build a road. I can’t believe it. It is maddening, frustrating and so sad all at the same time. I think this century will involve a great war – between conservationists and corporations. We have to stop doing what we’re doing. The alternative is just so bleak. I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t witness the joys of nature. I would rather be dead. I know that sounds extreme but that’s how I feel. Please keep us posted about this. I really want to know what happens.

    Like

    • You feel as strongly as I do, Selma. And it is planned for NEXT YEAR! I will post any and all new I can find. I do think you may be right about the two opposing factions and fear that money will win out – again!

      Like

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