Tuesday

Elephants Reunite After 20 Years Apart

The story of Shirley and Jenny began almost 25 years earlier when they were circus elephants together. Their life as circus elephants meant that they were chained for 23 out of 24 hours a day, transported in tiny train cars and forced to perform on demand before screaming masses of people. Jenny was just a infant brought from Asia and Shirley became her surrogate mother. But they were soon separated.

Shirley's life had remained one of stress, confinement and cruel discipline for the next 23 years. But after a serious leg injury she was dumped at a shelter for cats and dogs which was not equipped to accommodate a full sized elephant, let alone one who had medical needs. A committed animal rights activist contacted an elephant sanctuary and Shirley was soon transferred to their care. Ironically it turned out to be the same sanctuary that Jenny had been taken to years earlier.

The shelter was the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. The video below shows the touching reunion of Shirley and Jenny in the year 2000. They had not seen each other for over 2 decades but they had not forgotten each other at all. Right away, the two old friends were again inseparable, roaming the sanctuary side by side. Their bond was so intense, it would forever change life at the sanctuary. After Shirley's arrival, the other elephants who had previously been companions and friends were now sisters and aunts in the mother and daughter relationship of Shirley and Jenny.

Then in 2006, on Oct. 17th, Jenny succumbed to an infection in her crippled leg. Shirley, Tara and Bunny were with Jenny during the day before consoling her. Then the next morning, Shirley could no longer bear to watch her friend suffer so she moved off into the woods to begin mourning her impending death. Bunny and Tarra remained with their ailing friend, stroking her with their trunks and trumpeting in response to her moans. That night, Jenny passed away and Bunny and Tarra remained with her body until day break.

Shirley stayed in the woods until Jenny passed and then she didn't eat for two days. Shirley's whole life was about taking care of Jenny - it was like she had lost her baby. Bunny went in search of Shirley and stayed with her during those 2 days of deep mourning. Shirley’s mourning of Jenny was real and very evident by her appearance. Her trunk dragged along the ground, her shoulders slumped, and she was unable to open her eyes completely. She could not eat, and refused to trumpet.

It was a very hard time of loss for Shirley and the other elephants. But before long a new elephant came to the sanctuary. Her name was Misty and she was fun-loving and cheerful. It was in Misty that Shirley found a new friend and began to live life again. Elephants are extremely intelligent and emotionally bonding creatures quite like humans. The story of Shirley and Jenny is a beautiful testimony to that.


The Elephant Sanctuary ~

The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee was originally founded to take in the old sick or needy elephants that have been retired from zoos and circuses. It consists of more than 2700 acres and provides three separate and protected natural habitat environments for both Asian and African elephants. The elephants are no longer required to perform or entertain the public, but instead are encouraged to live out their lives as elephants would do in the wild. The elephants that live there are all females since it is the females who form the tight-knit bonds and live in groups in the wild. The elephants that live in the sanctuary tend to pair up with a best friend and do everything together with their friend.



VIDEO: Elephants Reunite After 20 Years Apart



Responses to "The touching reunion of 2 elephants after being separated for almost 25 years (Video)"

  1. Thank you VERY much for posting this wonderful video.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very Touching, Thank you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Still crying, so touching. So many more out there that are in danger and need care...

  4. Lys says:

    Thankyou for the Tale- is a nice environ.,tennessee ,good to know aout this . i wonder what the world would be like if we went mute for one day . :))

  5. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful lesson in LOVE, just pure, beautiful, uncomplicated LOVE for each other. Such a wonderfully touching story and so wonderful to see that just as there are humans on this earth that abuse animals or use them in unnatural ways, there are those beautiful souls who provide a place of peace and love in the last years for these beautiful creatures. So incredably special.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Such a moving, touching story. So wonderful to know that there is a place in our land for these beautiful creatures, perhaps one day all peoples of the world will realize that all animals should be allowed to live free and without harm.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This video made me cry, I could not helped, Jennny was a beloved mother to Shirley. Poor Jenny,she died. I hope Sirley is okay now. Elephants are like humans, they had feeling like people and they are very smart too.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Super example for people. Thanks a million

  9. Anonymous says:

    thanks for letting us see such a wonderful scene, at least they had some special time together xx

  10. Anonymous says:


    what does it take to make the cruel people stop caging animals? Is freedom only for the white man?

  11. B Filip says:

    This is so sad and wonderful at the same time. Elephants are such majestic & beautiful animals.

  12. Anonymous says:

    made me cry, so very touching

  13. Anonymous says:

    If only humans could estimate what they did to them.... Separated for so long, but finally reunited and able to spend thir last 6 years together. Thanks for sharing with us.

  14. margaret says:

    Thank you for the chance to see this I'm crying tears of happiness for these two old friends

  15. Anonymous says:

    Most preforming elephants are taken as babies from their mothers and enslaved for years. Please advocate to stop this practice of cruelty and don't support circuses or sideshows that continue to have elephants or bears. It was a blessing these two creatures go to spend some last time together, but still so sad.

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