Beleaguered conservationists have been fighting a planned 'Superhighway' that could obliterate many of the biologically richest habitats remaining in the West-African nation of Nigeria.
Today, ALERT joined the battle -- by issuing an international press release decrying the Cross River Superhighway.
The proposed highway would slice through the southern half of Nigeria, opening up the nation's last critical remnants of tropical rainforest to illegal logging, deforestation, poaching, and other human pressures.
“Nigeria needs better roads, but this is one of the most ill-conceived infrastructure projects we’ve seen anywhere,” said ALERT director Bill Laurance.
Especially vulnerable is Cross River National Park, which would be skirted by the proposed highway. Already a 100 meter-wide clearing has been bulldozed near the park's border, in anticipation of future road building.
“Cross River National Park is irreplaceable -- a biological jewel,” said ALERT member Thomas Lovejoy, a former environmental advisor to three U.S. presidents.
“It sustains a remarkable 18 species of primates, including the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla -- Africa's most imperiled Ape species -- plus other imperiled wildlife such as forest elephants and leopards,” said Lovejoy.
“We can only hope that common sense prevails,” said ALERT member Mahmoud Mahmoud, a Nigerian environmental scientist. “There are alternative routes for the highway that would be far less damaging to the environment and local peoples.”
It is vital to shine a light on this environmental crisis in the making, which is likely to proceed unless international pressure can be brought to bear.
Please share this press release with interested friends, colleagues, and journalists.