Visit Nigeria: Yankari Game Reserve Bauchi

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By Muhammad Isa Gaude

Bauchi is a state in the North-East of Nigeria. It is blessed with abundant flora and fauna.

It is a peaceful state that has offered tourist a great haven for holiday. Apart from the flora and fauna found in Bauchi, it also offers visitors a delicate Northern delicay named Masa.

Masa Bauchi is not found anywhere else in the world.

Yankari Game Reserve is another feature that has aced Bauchi on the tourist map of the world. It offers visitors a range of luxury that thrills hearts and visitors mostly go back for another great.

Yankarigamesreserve.com.ng describes the park as such: Yankari Game Reserve is a large wildlife park located in Bauchi State, in Northeastern Nigeria. It covers an area of about 2,244 square kilometers (866 sq mi) and is home to several natural warm water springs, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Wikipedia.com says, Its location in the heartland of the West African savanna makes it a unique way for tourists and holidaymakers to watch wildlife in its natural habitat.

The open country and villages that surround Yankari National Park are populated by farmers and herders, but there has been no human settlement in the park for over a century.

There is, however, evidence of earlier human habitation in the park, including old iron smelting sites and caves.

In 1934, the Northern Regional Committee made a recommendation to the Executive Council to establish a pilot game reserve in the Bauchi Emirate. This was supported by Alhaji Muhammadu Ngeleruma, a minister in the former northern Nigeria Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Around this time, he had been impressed by a visit to a Sudanese game reserve while on a trip to East Africa. On returning, he encouraged the moves to establish something similar in Nigeria.

In 1956, the Northern Nigeria Government approved the plans for the creation of a Game Preservation area. Yankari was identified as a region in the south of what was then Bauchi Province where large numbers of wild animals existed naturally and could be protected.

In 1957 a Game Preservation area was carved out and the area was constituted as a Bauchi Native Authority Forest Reserve.

Yankari was first opened to the public as a premier game reserve on 1 December 1962. Since then, the Northern Eastern State Government and then the Bauchi State Government both managed the Yankari Game Reserve. The park is now managed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Park Service.

In 1991 it officially became a National Park by decree 36 of the National Government.

Yankari National Park is an important refuge for over 50 mammal species including African bush elephant, olive baboon, patas monkey, Tantalus monkey, roan antelope, western hartebeest, West African lion, African buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck and hippopotamus.

The lion population is on the verge of extinction.[citation needed]Only 2 lions remained in the park in 2011. Leopard long presumed to be extinct in the park, but in April 2017, one adult male was captured on WCS camera-trap.

There are also over 350 species of bird found in the park. Of these, 130 are resident, 50 are Palearctic migrants and the rest are intra-African migrants that move locally within Nigeria. These birds include the saddle-billed stork, guinea fowl, grey hornbill, and the cattle egret.

In recent years there have been no sightings of Critically Endangered White-backed Vultures in Yankari and species probably extirpated from the reserve.

Yankari is recognized as having one of the largest populations of elephants in West Africa, estimated at more than 300 in 2005.

The growth of the elephant population has become a problem for surrounding villages at times as the animals enter local farms during the rainy season. The elephants have also stripped the park of many of its baobab trees.

Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit together with Kainji National Park.
Due to underground geothermal activity, Yankari National Park also features four warm water springs.

The camp is named after the most well known of these, the Wikki Spring, from the local Duguri language with “Wikki” meaning “where are you?”.

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The Wikki Warm Spring is the largest spring and is about 13.0 metres wide and 1.9 metres deep. It daily flows 21,000,000 litres of clear, spring water into the Gaji river.

The spring has a constant temperature of 31.1 °C through the year during both day and night and has been developed for recreation.

The other warm water springs are Dimmil, Gwana, and Mawulgo springs. A fifth spring, Tungan Maliki, is the only cool spring in the park.

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