Better late than never.
The remarkable love story of two long-legged birds from eastern Croatia, which has gone on for the last 15 years, looked like it was all over until a twist on Wednesday.
The love story of storks Klepetan and Malena has captured the hearts of many in Croatia for 15 years now. The two storks made their nest on a chimney in Brodski Varos in eastern Croatia more than two decades ago. The pair would fly together until poachers injured Malena’s wing which left her flying capabilities restricted.
With storks being a migrating bird, this caused a problem. Every winter for the last 15 years Klepetan would leave Croatia and make his way more than 13,000 km to the warmer climates of Africa.
Without fail, however, Klepetan has always managed somehow to negotiate his return to Croatia in the spring when the weather warms up to be reunited with Malena.
However when Klepetan failed to turn up by the end of March the nation begun to worry.
“There was bad weather in Greece last year which slowed his journey of 13,500 km down, but he still arrived on 30 March. This year Malena and I were waiting for him to come, we didn’t give up hope till Sunday but now it is clear that he will not come. Something has definitely happened to him”, Stjepan Vokic, who has taken care of the birds in Brodski Varos for over a decade, told 24sata over one week ago.
Just when all hope was nearly given up, Klepetan today made his return just after 3:00 pm, much to the delight of Malena and Stjepan. Despite being two weeks late, the two love birds have been reunited.
“To be honest I lost all hope. Around 3 pm this afternoon I was in the kitchen I heard some noises and I went out and saw Klepetan and another stork fighting for Malena. When they saw me one left and Klepetan stayed. He had some blood so I washed and cleaned him a bit. I recognised him straight away”, Stjepan described the moment Klepetan returned today.
The story is not over yet.