Heartwarming Reunion: Elephant Reconnects with Its Kind After 37 Years

In a touching reunion that has captured hearts worldwide, a 41-year-old elephant named Mila has been introduced to another elephant for the first time in over three decades.

Mila, who had spent more than 30 years as a solitary elephant in a circus and later found a home at the Franklin Zoo in New Zealand, met Mary, the esteemed leader of the San Diego Zoo’s elephant herd.

Watch the video at the end.


The heartwarming encounter was caught on video, showcasing the two African elephants gently entwining their trunks through a wire fence.

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Kindred spirits: Mila meets herd leader Mary at San Diego Zoo after being kept as a lone elephant in a circus for over 30 years

Renowned for their social nature, elephants often communicate by touching and intertwining their trunks.

According to African Elephant expert Tim Fullman, trunks play a crucial role in scent communication, and trunk-to-trunk contact during greetings may serve to exchange vital information.

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Friendship grows: Mila entwines trunks with the matriach of the herd Mary in a heart-warming scene

Mila’s poignant journey to reunite with her kind was inspired by her former keeper, Helen Schofield, who tragically lost her life in an accident involving Mila in 2012. Helen had always hoped Mila would one day join a herd of her fellow elephants.

This tragic incident ignited a fundraising campaign by the zoo’s supporters, all eager to see Mila relocated to a place where she could be with other African elephants.

Their relentless efforts paid off, as they managed to raise a substantial $1.5 million to facilitate Mila’s journey from New Zealand to the welcoming arms of the San Diego Zoo.

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Touching trunks: It is common for elephants to communicate to each other by touching and entwining their trunks

San Diego Zoo’s African elephant family consists of six elephants, encompassing both African and Indian species, aged 33 to 49 years old.

Ron Ringer, the lead keeper at the zoo, shared that Mila and Mary are already forming a strong bond.

“When Mary approached Mila, they both started munching on leaves from the same tree,” Mr. Ringer recounted. “This is an encouraging sight, as it signifies that both elephants are calm and accepting of each other, which is exactly what we hoped for during their introduction.”

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Elephant talk: Trunks play an important role in smell and this greeting may be to smell each other to gain information

The zookeepers opted for a gradual introduction, beginning with a one-on-one encounter between Mila and the matriarch, Mary.

Robbie Clark, one of the zookeepers, explained, “In late January, we offered Mila the first opportunity to meet another elephant with limited interaction.

After careful consideration, we chose Mary because of her dominant yet composed nature and her successful history of welcoming newcomers.”

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Accidental death: Mila’s former keeper Helen Schofield was crushed to death by the elephant in an accident in 2012

The outcome was beyond heartwarming, as Mary’s curiosity met Mila’s surprise at finding another colossal companion on the opposite side of the wall.

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