16 Years Of Love: Croatian Birds Reunite Over 8,700 Miles Yearly

Date February 16, 2018 11:59

Two birds in Croatia are teaching everyone what love means. Valentine's Day was just two days ago, and the story of these two sets an example every year for what love can be.


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Malena was shot in 1993.

For 16 years, a male stork, Klepetan, has traveled miles to be with his partner Malena because she is unable to fly with him.


Malena's caregiver, Stjepan Vokic, has been taking care of her for 24 years. He found her in 1993 after she was shot and left with injuries on her wings that meant she could no longer fly. Stjepan made a home for Malena in the small Croatian town of Brodski Varoš but he did not expect to find the male stork.

Their first reunion

Klepetan joined the family in 2001. Stjepan, who gave the storks their names, says he knew that the female stork was in love when he found the male stork with her on his roof.

The birds went on to make stork babies together. The baby storks grew up and joined the yearly migration of birds away from the small town. They have not returned, but Klepetan has.

He comes back to the Croatian small town every year in the summer months to be with his mate.

To get to Malena, Klepetan has to travel 8,700 miles across the south and northern hemisphere. They are considered to be Croatia's most famous couple and we see why.

Obitelj na okupu #Malena #Klepetan #storks #Brodski Varoš

Публикация от Alan Stankovic (@alanstankovic)

Klepetan's dangerous journey

The journey Klepetan makes to be with his mate is not an easy one. According to Stjepan, it gets dangerous as the male stork passes the Lebanon route. Over 2 million storks have been hunted down on this route.

The roof is on fire #malenaklepetan #klepetan #malena #rode #samoljubav #brodskivaros #malenaiklepetan #klepetanimalena

Публикация от Darko Bosnar (@darkobosnar)

Stjepan has recorded their reunion for some time now. He worries increasingly that the male stork may not make it each year. He has written to the President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, to address the irresponsible hunting of storks in Lebanon.


For now, however, he and the many who have since fallen in love with the story of these storks await their reunion in 2018.

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