Have you ever heard of Queen Elizabeth Jungle on the territory of Ijebu Igbo kingdom?
If you are seeking the biggest elephant in the world, there you find it!
Queen Elizabeth Jungle is a forest reserve created in 1949 but named after her after her visit to Ijebuland in 1956. It is a forest reserve typically restricted by law for any hunter to carry out any hunting expedition.
It all started that during colonial control in 1901, there was forest proclamation made to regulate log exploitation. As a result, a forest ordinance to establish forest reserves was put in place in 1908.
In 1914 after the amalgamation of Nigeria, colonialists surveyed a portion of land on Ijebu Igbo territory for special reservation. After the survey, by 1916, a Forest Reserve was created, named OMO FOREST RESERVE and registered with the goal to produce sawn timber on sustainable yield basis.
In 1946, the Nigerian Forest Department established in some of her Forest Reserves some portions called Inviolate Plots “to deliberately preserve typical pieces of Nigerian Forest in an untouched state for posterity”.
The Inviolate Plot was carved out of the Omo Forest in 1949 and later named Queen Elizabeth Jungle. Since 1954, these areas have been designated Strict Natural Reserves (SNR’s) by the Federal Department of Forest Research(now Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria ). Every specie of logs and animals found on this portion is preserved and protected by law against any encroachment by both hunters and forest merchant.
The Omo Forest Reserve covers an area of about 132, 090 hectares of which 25, 562 hectares were carved out and otherwise known as the inviolate plot or Queen Elizabeth Jungle. And the forest was recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve in 1977.
As far back to 1977, the Queen Jungle was monitored by both land and air security to preserve every content of the portion of the land. The most wildest animals like Lion, Elephants and others are found there. In the past, helicopters were often time seen by the nearby villagers hovering over the land to secure it.
However, the said Forest reserve has been recognised by UNESCO as Queen Elizabeth Jungle, amongst other Jungles named as J1, J2, J3 and J6 on the territory of Ijebu Igbo. This has become a measure of Queen’s immortalization in the history of Ijebuland.
The Queen of Elizabeth lived from 1926 to 2022. May her Soul rest on.