June 28 (Bloomberg) -- Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala welcomed neighboring Tanzania’s decision to cancel construction of a road through the Serengeti National Park, after environmentalists said it would devastate animal migrations.
“I think this is the biggest celebration we have had in the conservation world,” Balala told reporters in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, today.
Tanzanian Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Ezekiel Maige signaled the planned tarmac highway would not be built at a Unesco World Heritage committee meeting in Paris, according to an e-mailed statement from the U.K.-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds dated June 24.
The proposed asphalt highway would have disrupted the annual migration of 2 million zebras and wildebeest, also known as gnus, between Tanzania and Kenya, environmentalists including the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in New York, and the Zoological Society of London, said. The movement of the herbivores results from herds following rainfall in search of grazing, according to conservationists.
The Serengeti is designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Site and attracts as many as 90,000 tourists every year.
--Editors: Paul Richardson, Karl Maier.
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