An emotional reunion after 22 years apart: elephants really never forget!

Elephants are incredibly intelligent, sensitive, and social creatures. People aren’t kidding when they say an elephant never forgets. The case of two long-separated elephant friends proves the point.

Jenny the elephant was only a little calf when she was brought over from Asia and made part of an American circus. It’s hard to imagine how confusing and traumatic it was for her to be torn from family and home like that. There was another elephant at the circus, Shirley, who was much older, already in her twenties. During the winter they spent together, Jenny and Shirley formed a strong bond, perhaps something like mother and daughter. The two were sent their separate ways, not to meet again for 22 years.

The reunion happened in Tennessee, at The Elephant Sanctuary. Jenny was already in residence when Shirley was brought there. Not only had Shirley not seen Jenny in over 20 years, she hadn’t seen any other elephant, either — cruel treatment for such a social animal. The staff at the sanctuary didn’t know how Shirley would react to seeing other elephants. They started by introducing her to one named Tara.

Everything went well: the two elephants greeted each other gently and with astonishing tenderness. Early the next morning, Jenny was led to the elephant barn where her long-lost friend Shirley was waiting. When they were close enough to look each other in the eye, there was a spark of recognition. What followed were trumpets and roars of joy and the use of their trunks to do the elephant equivalent of giving a hug.

Shirley was already quite old by elephant standards and only lived another six years. But we can be glad she got to spend that time roaming around freely at a pleasant sanctuary surrounded by friends, not least Jenny.

What did you think of Jenny and Shirley’s reunion after so many years? Did you know elephants formed such strong bonds? Let’s hear from you in the comments section down below. Don’t forget to like and share!