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Elephant, Baboon Others face danger over illegal mining in 52 year old Nigerian park



Elephant, baboon, hyena population face total obliteration from one Nigeria’s oldest parks, the Jos Wildlife Park over activities of illegal miners, DDM has been told.

Created in 1972, the animal reserve in the last decade has faced steady decline on account of illicit mining which, according Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI), officials of the park itself appear to be complicit.

RDI calls on the Plateau State government to stop illegal mining activities in Park not only for the animals alone, but also for human settlements around the area.

As learnt, residents from communities in the area, Tudun Wada, Dong and Federal Low Cost Housing, have earlier raised alarm over dangers posed by the illegal mining of ore in their vicinity.

They say that the activities have left their farmlands with sinkholes.

The residents also made similar claims that officials of the park are complicit and look the other way while the mining activities escalate.

RDI gathered that the mining activities have systematically decimated the elephant, baboon and hyena population in the park while the three communities with a population of about 800,000 people have been losing their members to loose soil that usually give way whenever they go to farm.

Ifeoluwa Adediran, Project Officer, the  Jos Wildlife Park, said that the conservation was established by Governor Joseph Gomwalk in 1972, reputed as a place where nature has been left to thrive.

“It is one of the biggest natural/artificial zoological garden and park in the country.

“But all that has changed in the last decade.

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“The natives narrated that the illegal mining activities in the park and surrounding communities have the tacit support of corrupt government officials who make money from the miners and turn a blind eye on their activities,” Adediran said.

According to RDI Board member, Tobias Lengnan Dapam, beyond the environmental hazards that locals face, the once serene environment which is a natural habitat of animals and visiting tourists is now disturbed and noisy due to digging and other unsound environmental practices.

“The locals now feel a heightened sense of insecurity as crime spirals in the communities due to the influx of non-natives whose identities are not known.”

Adediran, speaking further, said that the situation in the Jos Wildlife Park and surrounding communities is worrisome in view of the disruption of the livelihoods of the locals, threats to peace and security and potentials for revenue generation being allowed to fritter away.

“The Plateau State Government must immediately restore the park to its former glory by proscribing mining activities there and declaring the environment and surrounding communities’ disaster zones,” he said.

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