After 50 years in captivity, elephant freed for first time and reunited with old friend

Shirley the elephant hasn't had an easy life, but finally, things are starting to look up.
Shirley was brought over to America in the 1960s after being captured in Asia, performing in the circus, and surviving a boat fire. She continued her circus career until another elephant attacked her and broke her leg, which healed poorly. Her handlers soon realized she couldn't perform in the circus anymore, and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo agreed to take her in.
Elephants need other elephants around them to be happy. According to Elephants in Canada, a proper social environment is critical to elephants. In fact, the organization recommends no fewer than three elephants living together. Shirley had no one except Solomon James, her primary caretaker.
Advertisement
Though Solomon doted on her the entire length of her stay at the zoo, he knew she needed a better life with other elephants for company.
Solomon accompanied her on a 14-hour trip to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, where she immediately (and loudly) connected with fellow elephant resident Jenny. The two pachyderms bent the bars holding them apart, trying to get to each other. Finally, the keepers removed the barrier between them. But why were these elephants so eager to get close to one another?
As it turns out, all those years ago (25 at that point), they had been in the circus together. The Elephant Sanctuary says that Jenny was brought to the circus as an infant, and Shirley likely looked after her as her surrogate mother.
Finally, 25 years later, the two were reunited.
Even more touching than Soloman's dedication to Shirley's happiness is the elephants' connection and obvious, ongoing bond. Watch the video to see both, and share it with family and friends who would appreciate this amazing story (and don't mind shedding a tear or two).
Advertisement

A little penguin rounds the corner in search of his caregiver.
February 23   ·  
Advertisement
On a snowy day, the woman opened up the barn and let her horses out to see if they would like to play. They quickly decided that snow is not their type of weather.
February 22   ·  
A mama black bear in New Hampshire had her hands full trying to get her four cubs to cross the road. It soon became apparent that one of the cubs was in trouble.
February 21   ·  
Massive movements are seen from overhead...
February 10   ·  
When things go terribly wrong, holding a purring cat can make things easier. Good came out of bad for this special cat and his personal hero!
February 12   ·  
What does a dog think about when someone he loved disappears from his life? More than that, what does he think when that person returns?
February 7   ·