Over the course of a year, up to 378 species of migratory birds, from Europe, South America, and Asia, stop at the Hadejia wetlands in Baturiya, Jigawa State. Most of them arrive during winter and leave during the dry season. The Baturiya Bird Sanctuary, covering a space of up to 320 square km and surrounded by a buffer zone of up to half a kilometre, spreads across the three local government areas of Auyo, Guri and Kirikassamma.
The birds, some of which of which are owned by universities and conservatories in the three aforementioned continents, bear rings and tags on their legs, containing information on where they came from. A 2018 Daily Trust report suggests that at the peak of the birds’ arrival in their tens of thousands, they covered the sun, darkening the atmosphere in the area.
Attracting up to 2,000 visitors annually, the birds were in turn attracted by the over 200 ponds in the sanctuary, which, however, have been reported to be drying up, leading to decreases in the number of arriving birds and the fish that used to be abundant.
A 1966 wildlife law prohibited fishing and hunting in the area. The visit by members of the UK-based Wildlife Conservation Foundation, including Princes Phillip and Charles, is widely reported.
The Baturiya Bird Sanctuary is regarded as the biggest in Nigeria.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture: art, business, entertainment, activism, health, food. He is a writer, journalist, curator, media consultant, former academic, and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Open Country Mag, a new online platform covering African literature. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians" by Avance Media. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.