They says elephants have excellent memories. They never forget. This is backed up by research. Scientists who have done the research indicate that their remarkable memories are a major part as to how they survived as long as they did in the wild -- reports indicate they live 50 to 60 years on average.
Why are they so gifted?
An elephant's brain is similar to a human's brain in both structure and complexity. Elephants exhibit many behaviors that reveal substantial intelligence, including grief, altruism, mimicry, play, art, use of tools, and self-awareness. Amazingly, elephants show signs of grief when they lose a loved one through death or desertion . . . and "joy" when they return them. This post is about how Shirley and Jenny experienced grief, loss and joy.
Shirley & Jenny
The story of Shirley and Jenny is a narrative that could have been a fictional Disney movie. Except this story is all too real. These two ladies were captured by a circus organization. Like so many circus animals, they were forced to perform daily only to retire nightly to a constrained facility.
Living as a circus performer is traditionally an abusive experience . . . but at least, these two pachyderms had each other. Fortunately, Shirley and Jenny supported each other. As a result, a strong bond grew. They became BFFs in the true sense of the words.
The narrative changes overnight. Captors found a way to sneak into Jenny's containment area and kidnap her. While one might think of this as a devious form of thievery, as it worked out the thieves were actually volunteers for The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee -- where Jenny was given a second chance in life and a 'forever home.'
However in leaving Shirley behind, Jenny's new wondrous life still had something missing -- her BFF.
22-Year Separation . . .
Shirley grew lonely as well. From her early days of surviving a ship fire and breaking a leg, she was now experiencing a tremendous loss.
While Shirley and Jenny only lived one winter together at the circus, they were now separated for twenty-two long years.
As fate would have it however, The Urban Elephant organization aided in reuniting these two old friends. Shirley was sent to the The Elephant Sanctuary, and as soon as she laid eyes on Jenny, she remembered that strong bond ignited all those decades ago. They both approached each other with their trunks a' wagging. Jenny trumpeted a boisterous shriek and they embraced, as only elephants can.
The bonding was immediate, intense and unforgettable between these two former circus performers. But long after the cameras were turned off, the wondrous moments would continue. Thankfully, elephants never forget, permitting this story to have a very, very happy ending.
Primary Source: Elephants.com