The Jos Wildlife Park epitomizes the rich tourism industry on the Plateau. This beautiful Park is situated on the Miango road in Jos South Local Government Area covering an area of about 8 square kilometers.
In my recent visit after 20 years, I noticed that due to neglect by successive administrations, the tourists’ first-choice destination is now a shadow of itself. The animals that made the park famous are no longer there.
After its establishment 44 years ago, the park, which had a collection of about 160 animals, comprising 40 species, received little attention from successive administrations. As a result, it can no longer boast of more than 50 animals and birds. This is because there were no deliberate efforts to replenish the stock.
Investigations revealed that some of the animals became very old and died; some died as a result of fire, and others were poached by hunters; a situation that has left the park almost empty.
The symbols or signs that remind visitors of the past glory of the park are the photographs of animals that habited the ones beautiful park and the labeled but now empty cages.
Some of the animals available at the park are one species of ape, chimpanzee, baboons, vultures; guinea fowls, two lions, two rock pythons, one giant elephant, camel, horses, donkeys, ostrich, Tortoise, peacock, and crocodiles. Major games such as buffalo, zebra, tiger and hippopotamus are not there.
The Jos Wild Life Park was established in 1972 along with Pandam Wildlife Park and Wase Rock Games Reserve by the Joseph Gomwalk administration in the then Benue-Plateau State as part of the mandate by the then Organisation of African Unity to African heads of state to set aside one third of their landmass to establish conservation areas in their respective countries. Gomwalk, who was a Commissioner of Police then, was said to be a zoologist.
Currently, the Jos Wildlife Park which used to be a center of tourists’ attraction on the Plateau is dilapidated because there has been no form of renovation in the past 35 years.
My question is what happened to the goal under which the park was established under the Northern Nigeria Wild Animal Law of 1963, which states: “was enacted primarily for the conservation, preservation, protection and management of indigenous and exotic wildlife resources against endangerment and extinction”?
A seasoned journalist
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