Returning Elephants have Stunning Impact on Africa’s Virunga National Park — The Adventure Blog

Once an Elephant Paradise

Back in the 1980s, it was estimated that Virunga was home to more than 8000 elephants. The remote wilderness was the perfect place for the giant pachyderms, which had roamed the landscape there for untold centuries. With no real rivals or predators other than man, it seemed like the forests and savanna were a safe haven for the creatures.

COVID Just Down Virunga National Park

As with many travel-focused destinations around the globe, Virunga was forced to close its gates as the global pandemic spread throughout the world back in March. Because no one could come to the DRC or Virunga, tourism revenue that once supported the park dried up and disappeared. This forced the government to layoff much of the staff and shutter operations admits fears that poachers would claim the last of the elephants that still wandered the park there.

An Influx of Animals

A few months after these measures were take a curious thing happened. More than 580 elephants from neighboring Uganda wandered across the border and into Virunga. Suddenly the size of the herd had grown to fives times what it had been at the start of the year. With few visitors to the park, its roads and campsites are extremely quiet, which makes it an ideal setting for the large animals.

A Recovering Ecosystem

Because the invasive plant species were allowed to run wild, many indigenous flora was overrun. This caused the local food chain to be thrown completely off kilter, forcing some animals to migrate to other areas to find a proper source of sustenance.

The Future Looks Bright

Government officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are ecstatic with everything that they’ve seen unfold over the past few months. What had started as a last-ditch effort to protect their rapidly-dwindling elephant population has now become one of the biggest and best conservation stories in recent memory.

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The Adventure Blog

The Adventure Blog

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The Adventure Blog is a collection of personal stories, news, and gear reviews about a range of topics related to adventure travel, outdoor sports, and ecology.