For years, Anthony Caere, an anti-poaching pilot at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), peered through the windows of his helicopter to see a landscape mostly devoid of wildlife. But now, Virunga is coming back to life. A herd of about 580 savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) recently crossed over from Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, and they appear to be staying put.
“Now not only are we seeing the elephants, which is an unbelievable sight from above, but we’re noticing the impact of such a big herd on the park,” Caere said in a statement. “They’re restoring everything back to what it was 50 years ago and doing [it] so much faster than we could have imagined. If the elephants continue to stay here in these numbers, this place will look totally different in just a few years.”