2 Aug 2010

Save the Serengeti – road proposal must be stopped

Serengeti Darf Nict Sterben – The Serengeti Shall Not Die. For all of my life the Serengeti has cast a long shadow. The 1959 Oscar-winning documentary, The Serengeti Shall Not Die – made by Bernhard Grzimek president of the Frankfurt Zoological Society and his son Michael brought the majesty of the place to the attention of the wider world. Their personal story – Michael was killed in a plane crash during the project leaving the filming to be completed by Alan Root – and the story of the Serengeti fascinated me as a child. They started by making a film about the migration of wildebeest and ended by revealing the threats to this ultimate special place. Michael Grzimek was buried on the lip of the Ngorongoro crater. The film and subsequent collaborations between Bernhard Grzimek and Alan Root began to put the Serengeti and its wildlife firmly on the map. The connection with the Frankfurt Zoological Society continues to this day; it is their modelling that shows a new road proposal could sever the wildebeest migration prompting a collapse in their numbers from 1.3m to 200,000. This, in turn would lead to the ecology of the Serengeti changing profoundly. This is today’s threat. The government of Tanzania is planning a highway across the northern part of the Serengeti – you can read more about it here where, as well, you can find out how you can help directly. The Serengeti is an Important Bird Area and a World Heritage Site under siege– and the World Heritage Committee is meeting and this proposal is on their agenda. The Serengeti is in the spotlight again. Serengeti Darf Nict Sterben – The Serengeti Shall Not Die. By Andre Farrar - RSPB (BirdLife in the UK). Read more blogs by Andre here. Image by Tarique Sani / Flickr.