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Pandam wild life park is located in quaan Pan local government area in plateau state, it is one of the largest game reserves in Nigeria and it is situated between Plateau and Lafia, the Road leading to the north side of Benue river. This park covers a distance of 60 kilometres to Lafia, the capital of Nassarawa State. Pandam Park is located at a height of 175- 310 meters above sea level and it is bounded by River to the North and by Pandam to the west and bounded by Namu, Kayarda and Aningo settlements to the south and east.
The park has the following species of animals: 15 species of reptiles (including snakes), 25 species of mammals e.g., elephants, monkeys, brush hog pig, baboons, antelopes etc. other animals found here are hippopotamus, shy duikers, warthogsetc.; there are also 112 species of birds and 52 species of fish in Pandam lake.
Pandam forest (Plants)
Pandam forest has dominant of grasses, shrubs and tall trees, the plant species are exotic e.g. mangoes baobab among other plants. The leaves of these plants are tiny and the barks of the trees are thick enough to conserve water during dry season. The following arrows that best describe the nature of food chain in Pandam game reserve: Grass-Rabbit – Big cat- Antelope- Man. There is a thick forest just few distance away from where the halls are located, the forest is divided into two- gallery forest and guinea savannah. Tall trees with broader leaves dominate the guinea Savannah, the leaves of the trees spread out to form a canopy and they are greener than those found at the entrance of the Park. You could easily notice the present of climbers, creepers plants, Storingia and Piliostigma. This thick forest serves as a safe habitat for all the animals found in Pandam Park and it serves a covering for soil and many microorganisms.
Pandam improvised museum
This is a large museum arranged with different sculptures and animals, some of the things kept in this museum include Pisces (Tilapia, catfish etc.), mammals (lion, antelope and elephant, among other mammals), reptiles (snake, crocodile and lizards, apes, pelican birds, ostrich, and amphibians like frog and toad.
Pandam Lake is a natural fresh water lake that covers an area of 220km2, it forms a Y shape when critically viewed from a close distance, and each of the arms occupies 3km long on the land. The lake got its source from Dogon Kurnmi, dogon Ruwa and William stream; hippopotamus, African manatee, crocodile and many fish are found in this lake. Hence birds like King Fishers, white face, tree duck, great egret are the few migratory birds from the Northern hemisphere which use the park as their winter quarter, are also found within the forest and around the lake area. These birds get their food by feeding on the fish in this lake. There are three zones in in this lake which include
- Pelagic (open water zone where sunlight does not penetrate to the bottom of the lake)
- Littoral zones (is near the shore where the sun light penetrates)
- Benthic zone(the bottom of the Lake)Pandam Wildlife Park belongs to State Tourism Corporation and here are few reasons in which the park was set up.
- For conservation of Biodiversity
- Tourist attraction (ecotourism)
- Recreational purpose
- Source of revenue generation
- Educational purpose
- Employment opportunities
- Posterity purpose
- Aesthetic value
- Scientific research
Economic importance of Pandam Wildlife Park
- The park provides grasses, ropes and firewood for Pandam communities.
- People make use of the natural herbs in Pandam forest for ailment purposes.
- The forest serves as a natural ecosystem for animals and plants species and for this reason, it has drawn the attention of various tourists and researchers from foreign countries.
- There are some climbing plants that are found in this forest, which could be converted to ropes.
- The park as a whole serves as learning environment for visitors to learn about the beauty of nature and enjoy the natural environment.
- The park serve as a research haven for individuals who are carrying out their Masters, PhDs in Zoology, Ecology and the Environmental Sciences
- The park has served as a venue for political meetings and rallies some years ago.
Major problemsin Pandam Wildlife Park
- Since 1999, the Pandam wildlife park has been suffering neglect as a result of the shortage in manpower, the agency and the government has totally refused to pay attention in improving the park.
- The lake is often polluted due to different human activities going on around.
- Water lichens when they die, they decay into the lake, hence reducing the quality and volume of the lake.
- Other challenges facing the park include poor funding, activities of poachers, cattle grazing and falling of trees in the park which are not beyond what the Plateau State government can handle.
- Illegal hunting is one of the major loss and destruction of specific wild games in Pandam wildlife reserve; hence, it has led to imbalance in the natural ecosystem.
Solution to these problems
- The government should start paying attention in developing the entire park, while the managers should prevent certain individuals from cutting down the tress and hunting of the wild games within the park premises.
- The chalets in this parkneed some level of rehabilitation and repair, Plateau State Government should look into it and do the necessary repair.
- More competent workers should be employed to work as managing staff in thepark