Savanna elephants have returned en masse to Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s a development that has stunned park staff and signaled a turning point in Virunga’s quest for stability in a region beset by violence for decades. In August nearly 600 elephants crossed into Virunga from neighboring Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. More than six months later, they’re still there, suggesting they feel secure in their new home.
“There has been no greater expression of Virunga coming back to life,” says park director Emmanuel de Merode. “I arrived to the Congo 30 years ago, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
A two-million-acre expanse of steppes, savannas, volcanoes, and snowfields along the DRC’s eastern border, Virunga