“Yankari game reserve is now on lockdown to tourists to curtail the spread of COVID 19. We have provided the required items such as hand wash, sanitisers, and scanners among others in Yankari. Plans to fumigate the entire game reserve is also in process as another measure to fight the virus. No case of COVID-19 is detected in Yankari but it will be wise to take preventive measures because during the Yellow fever incidents there are lots of publicity on it which actually affects us,” he said.
Following the State government announcement, Nigeria Travel Digest reporters spoke to the General Manager of Yankari Game Reserve, Mr. Muhammed Ladan who further clarified that, "actually, there are two major operational departments in the Reserve. Conservation and Ecotourism Departments. It is only the Ecotourism Department, i.e. "hospitality", that was fully locked down. Thus, in my personal opinion, I am in support of the Bauchi State Government for the temporary lockdown of the tourism activities in the Reserve."
When asked about the likely resumption date for eco-tourism operation in the world acdlaimed game reserve, the General Manager said, "it depends on the desperate measures and time taken by the State Healthcare sector. However, immediately when the issue of Covid- 19 is been under control. The Yankari Game Reserve will return to it normal tourism activities."
Yankari Game Reserve was originally created as a game reserve in 1956, by the British colonial government, then in 1991, much after after Nigeria's independence, the richly bio-diverse game reserve was designated Nigeria’s biggest national park. Today, Yankari is the most popular destination for domestic and foreign tourists inbound Nigeria. Yankari game reserve has since been returned to the Bauchi State government, its original ownership, hence it plays a crucial role in the development and promotion of ecotourism in Nigeria and West Africa.
Understandably, Alhaji Muhammed Ladan assured Nigeria Travel Digest of his commitment to enrich tourists destination experience in Yankari game reserve, especially now under the administration of Governor Bala Muhammad, the current chief executive of Bauchi State.
Hence, the General Manager further said, "I would like to inform all our potential domestic and international tourists, that spraying exercise on indoor and outdoors facilities in Yankari Game Reserve is ongoing to prevent the precarious Covid- 19 from getting to the Reserve. Furthermore, precautionary and preventive medical apparatus, has been put in place at the Main Gate Entrance of Yankari Game Reserve. Finally, safety and security is paramount to our dear customers. We promised to keep you in an healthy natural environment."
Yankari game reserve is located in the south-central part of Bauchi State, in northeastern Nigeria. It covers an area of about 2,244 square kilometres (866 sq mi) and is home to several natural warm water springs, as well as a wide array elephants, warthogs, lions and other wildlife. The game reserve is also boasts of significant archaeological sites with evidence of 'early man' living in caves!