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This stork flies thousands of miles every year to visit his injured mate

Indy 100 16-04-2018 Greg Evans

a close up of a bird © Provided by Independent Print Limited For most people, the stork is a big elegant bird that is always associated with delivering newborn babies. 

However, one stork is proving that they are also very committed and faithful mates to their partners, which is something humans could learn a thing or two from.

Every year a male stork by the name of Klepetan flies thousands of miles from southern Africa to Croatia to join his female partner, Malena, who cannot fly.

Klepetan has been embarking on this epic journey for 16 years now and their relationship has made the pair celebrities in the Eastern European nation.

Malena was found by Stjepan Vokic, a local man from the village of Brodska Varos, who found her after she had been shot in the wing by hunters. 

Stjepan has been caring for her for the past 24 years building an improvised home for the bird, made to resemble the climate of Africa, complete with a nest, heating and an aquarium.

Speaking to AFP, 71-year-old Vokic said:  "I also take her fishing since I can't take her to Africa. We even watch TV together. If I had left her in the pond foxes would have eaten her. But I changed her fate, so now I'm responsible for her life."

In the spring, she has her own special nest on the roof of the house where Klepetan visits her following his approximately 9,000-mile migration from near Cape Town, South Africa.

And you thought chivalry was dead.

The pair has already parented 62 baby storks and are likely to continue making more as time goes by. However, as Malena cannot fly or hunt, Stjepan has to feed the birds himself. 

The bird's commitment to each other and the caring nature that Stjepan has shown to Malena has made all three of them viral hits on Twitter.


They were even subject of a short documentary from the BBC.

Storks are a common bird in Croatia, with the country serving as a home to nearly 1,500 white storks with the village of Cigoc being named as the first ever European stork village in 1994.

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