Injured stork’s husband has a 16,000 mile commute

Now here’s a long-distance relationship: every year a pair of storks are together from until August and then one of them flies to the other side of the world only returning to his mate in March.

The white stork is mostly found in eastern and central Europe as well as in Spain and nearby parts of North Africa. Their large wings enable them to fly with slow, regular beats and also to soar on thermals. This efficiency makes their long annual migration a lot easier.

A stork named Malena was shot illegally by hunter back in 1993. Luckily for her, Stjepan Vokic spotted her by the side of the road and nursed her back to health. Even after her wounds healed, she was still unable to fly. Stejpan became Malena’s caretaker, building a nest for her on the roof of his house and keeping her inside during the winter.

Several years later, a male stork, later named Klepetan, noticed Malena in the rooftop nest and took a liking to her. The wooing was successful and they’ve gone on to raise dozens of chicks. He doesn’t stay around all year, though. Because Klepetan can fly, it’s impossible for him to resist the instinct to head south for the winter. Every year in late August, he takes off on an amazing 8,000 mile flight to South Africa. Then in March, like clockwork, he returns home to Croatia and his beloved Malena. These storks have been an item for over 15 years now!

Anyone who doesn’t believe in true love may need to reconsider after hearing about these lovebirds. Check out the video posted below to see them for yourself.

How did you like this example of marital devotion from the animal kingdom? Let’s hear from you in the comments at Facebook and don’t forget to like and share!

[mashvideo]