The Conservator of the Gashaka Gumti National Park in Taraba, Alhaji Mohammed Kabir, says illegal loggers have killed not less than nine Rangers, living several others injured in the last few years.
Kabir spoke on Wednesday at an event to mark the 2019 World Rangers Day celebration at Serti, headquarters of Gashaka Local Government Area of the state.
He gave the names of the deceased as Usman Yahya, Joshua Mamman, Adamu Hamman, Ajayi Peter and Hamman Njidda.
According to him, others are Hamman Dikko, Zamani Teituly, Sunday Ali and Yakubu Umaru.
“Their respective deaths are not unconnected to the activities of loggers with its attendant insecurity around the park and her support Zone Communities,” he said.
He said: “31st of July every year is set aside by the International Ranger Federation (IRF) to enable conservationists and lovers of wildlife commemorate the selfless service rendered by Rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and appreciate the critical work they do in protecting the natural resources.”
He explained that the past few years had been very hectic for the Managers and Rangers of Gashaka-Gumti National Park due to increased spate of desperation on illegal logging of Rosewood, pterocarpus erinaceous, commonly called Madrid.
The official observed that the economic importance of this specie and its abundance was discovered between 2014 and 2015 in Gashaka LGA and particularly around the park thereby constituting serious security threat to workers of the National Park.
The discovery of the rosewood in the area has continued to be of major security challenge to both Managers and Rangers of the park as they spent sleepless nights to protect the forest resources from desperate loggers.
Kabir identified illegal logging, illegal grazing, high level insecurity, poaching and other illegal human activities around the National Park as some of the major challenges confronting the institution.
In his goodwill message at the occasion, the Lamdo Gashaka, Dr Zubairu Hammangabdo, said conserving the National Parks was a collective responsibility.
As traditional rulers, he said, they would continue to mobilise their subjects to protect what he described as “the largest and most diverse conservation enclave in Nigeria”.
He warned his people against illegal logging and poaching, explaining that the park was a pride not only to the people of Gashaka, but Taraba and Nigeria at large.
He called on district, village and ward heads to educate their people on the importance of the park to the environment and future generations and to desist from destroying it.