After 22 Years Apart, Former Circus Elephants Immediately Recognize Each Other In Emotional Reunion.

Joyful trumpeting echoed through the still morning air, reverberating across lush grassy fields and large open plains, as the two old friends enthusiastically greeted each other. But the other residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee likely understood and forgave the noisy pair, who had been separated for more than two decades.

The elephants, Shirley and Jenny, performed in the same circus one winter 22 years earlier, though Shirley was already 20 years old by the time Jenny arrived from Asia as a calf.

Perhaps Shirley was her comfort and mother in this strange new land,” a narrator muses in the video below.

But the tables are turned when they see each other again after all those years; Jenny was the one to welcome Shirley, who arrived at the sanctuary after a 14-hour drive.

“I don’t know who was the first to put a chain on her, but I’m glad, you know, that I was the last to take it off,” said a sanctuary worker, stroking Shirley emotionally as he gave her a bath. “She’s free at last.”

Later, when Jenny returns to the barn, the two recognize each other almost immediately. Their fondness for each other is apparent as they drape their trunks over each other’s faces and shoulders, with happy rumbling sounds emanating from their throats.

“In their desperation to get closer throughout the night, Shirley and Jenny have bent the steel bars between them,” the narrator says, and when a gate between their cages is finally opened, Shirley steps through to properly greet her friend.

“That was the love that started our elephant family,” said Carol Buckley, the sanctuary’s executive director. “After Shirley’s arrival, elephants who had previously been companions and friends were now sisters and aunts in the mother-and-daughter relationship of Shirley and Jenny. They gave the sanctuary its future.”

Just as with humans, Jenny and Shirley’s reunion is proof that neither time nor distance can break the true bond of friendship!

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