Animal movements been confirmed recently (a) by following elephant trails the whole way from Mahale to Katavi on foot (there may be four separate trails), and (b) by identifying such trails from satellite imagery.
There has also been speculation that chimpanzee populations are found in this corridor area but this was not confirmed by a Wildlife Conservation Society survey of the eastern Albertine Rift.
General: Katavi and Mahale NPs are relatively close to each other and the intervening miombo woodland is little inhabited, but there is some logging.
South of the Mpanda-Lugonesi Road the area consists of almost no villages, only watercourses (the Luega and Msenguse Rivers) flowing southwest into Lake Tanganyika. However, one dirt road bisects this corridor, the road from Mpanda to Karema that has a bus service.
All three routes are potentially threatened by proposed road developments. In particular, plans to make a tarmac road from Sumbawanga to Mpanda could have an impact if the route of the road was to run west of Katavi NP instead of through it. Decisions on the route have yet to be finalized.
Specifically for Route 1: people are moving into this area, some small clusters of houses were seen in several locations along the elephant route, most notably at the Lwega River elephant crossing point.
However Kashagulu Villagers have recently established a VLFR and told these people to move from the northern side of the river. Probably these people will just go back to the southern side of the river rather than moving out of the area completely.
Route 2: this is of particular interest as the whole route and Ntakata is currently unprotected.
Route 3: there is a road in between Ntakata and Kakungu and people are rapidly moving into the Kakungu area to farm so this route is probably disturbed already.