Renevlyn Development Initiative

Illegal mining threatening local community, animals in Jos Wildlife Park

Field Report 001

Date of Report:
9 February, 2024

Jos North LGA, Plateau State


Following a Save Our Souls from residents of Tudun Wada, Dong, and Federal Low-Cost Housing in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, on the dangers posed by the illegal mining of ore in their vicinity, RDI visited to hear from them and document the situation on ground.

RDI learnt from them that illegal mining of tin ore has been threatening wildlife and costing the lives of natives within proximity of the Jos Wildlife Park. Disturbingly, it was 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 burrow pits that usually give way whenever they go to farm.

The Jos Wildlife Park was established by Governor Joseph Gomwalk in 1972 and is reputed as a place where nature has been conserved. It is about five kilometres from the city of Jos, and covering an area of 8 square kilometres. It is one of the biggest natural/artificial zoological garden and park in the country.  But all that has changed in the last decade. 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.

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.

Testimonials from the Frontlines

Sylvia Kumtong, from Tudun Wada: “Hunters from outside used to attack animals inside the wildlife”.

“The last time we visited, we saw a man with a big snake inside a sack. That was when one of the staff who was taking us on tour knew that something like that was happening inside the wildlife Park. This also means that the animals are not safe.”

Lisa Gwamkat, from Dong Village: “Illegal miners usually attack people who go deep inside the Wildlife Park”

“During a recent visit with some of my friends, we were advised not to go to certain places because of the illegal miners who usually attack people. Some of these illegal miners are cultists who use isolated areas in the park to carry out their activities”.

Donas Bakfur, from Kabong village: “Herdsmen have also occupied the wildlife park”

 “There is also another dimension to the assault on the park.  The activities of herdsmen in the park is what discouraged me from going there. The place is not what it used to be, owing to the illegal grazing by the herdsmen. If you live in this part of the country, you will know that most of the crisis these days are connected to herders’ activities in the state. These heartless people usually attack tourists in some parts of the Wildlife Park.”

Jerry Daks, from Rukuba: “There is no water for the animals in the park”

“It is unfortunate that one of the problems in the park is that there is no single borehole or well to ease water supply. Staff buy water from water vendors to feed the animals including aquatic the tortoise and crocodile.”

Nyam Shombot, frontline community activist: “Government not helping matters at all”

“It would seem the government is not serious about addressing the crisis that has engulfed the park and the surrounding communities. It is unfortunate that a conservation center that used to attract people from near and far, even non Nigerians has been allowed to experience this kind of decline.”

Pictures from the Field

Our Recommendations

  1. Plateau State Government immediately proscribe mining in Jos wildlife park and surrounding communities
  2. Plateau State Government declare the Jos wildlife park and surrounding communities disaster zones
  3. Consensus building among host communities on the need to stop illegal tin ore mining in the Jos Wildlife Park and adjoining communities of in Tudun Wada, Dong and Federal Low Cost Estate.
  4. A comprehensive environmental audit of the Jos Wildlife Park and surrounding communities preparatory to their rehabilitation to pristine state
  5. Creation of a community environmental watch comprising locals in Tudun Wada, Dong and Federal Low Cost Estate and officials of government

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