"That she allowed me to get close and accepted me was a very emotional experience for me. I will always keep that memory in my heart."
For the first time in 35 years, a Scottish zookeeper has been reunited with an elephant he used to look after. Peter Adams was reunited with Kirsty at the Neunkirchen Zoo, nearly three decades after the elephant left Glasgow. Warning: keep Kleenex on standby, as a highly emotional video shows how Kirsty immediately recognizes Peter as she wraps her trunk around him while he talks to her. According to Daily Mail, Peter was Kirsty's zookeeper at Calderpark Zoo in the 1980s, which eventually closed in August 2003 after amassing debt of over £3m. It is unclear when Kirsty was born, but it is assumed she was born around 1967 and was moved from Glasgow in 1987 to relocate to Chester Zoo. That's where she met her female companion Judy for the first time.
Kirsty and Judy were later moved to Dublin where they lived together from 1994 until 2005 until finally being shipped to Neunkirchen Zoo in Germany. Peter lost track of her when she left Scotland, but he got to know that Kirsty was in Germany, so he arranged to meet with her. He said, "Of course, I was wondering if there was any truth to the phrase 'elephants never forget'." A zoo spokesperson said: "Kirsty recognized Peter Adams, who outwardly has changed very much, by his voice."
Another picture shows Peter giving the elephant a warm hug while appearing to get emotional at seeing her again. It would have been a pleasant surprise for him to know that Kirsty never forgot about him, even after 35 years. Peter said: "That she allowed me to get close and accepted me was a very emotional experience for me. I will always keep that memory in my heart." It's going to be something he'll cherish for a long, long time.
Kirsty is around 52-years-old and Kirsty is said to still be in good health and enjoying her retirement at the German zoo. "After a colorful life with several moves around European zoos she has found her retirement retreat with us," her current zookeepers said. The zoo's website describes her as 'intelligent and willing to learn' but also 'dominant over members of her species'.
Peter said that since he now knows where she is, he plans to visit her as much as possible. People couldn't stop fawning over the cute reunion on social media. Kirstine Darch Gibb revisited her childhood memories: She was in the Calderpark zoo. I used to go and see her when I was little. Julian Roberts shared some wisdom that turned out to be true: My nan used to say an elephant never forgets. Joy Moore was moved by the reunion: So touching and so beautiful friendship!
Zaheem Zaz Mushtaq gave us a wakeup call with his comment: Sad to think that their numbers are diminishing in the wild. Jake Topfan Marshall has his priorities straight: Animals over humans all day long. We do sometimes feel animals love us unconditionally while not expecting a thing in return and this just proves that. Megsy Shepherd said: What a lovely story so nice to read something good for a change I love elephants.
Christine Moore was touched by the gesture from Kirsty: Happy reunion after all those years ... so wonderful she wrapped her trunk round u for a hug. Peter definitely would have been a happy man to know he was remembered. Anna Carol Maddox Biggs said: So wonderful for old friends to meet. It is always a good feeling to catch up with a long lost friend, and while Peter was completely happy, this encounter would have made Kirsty happy, too!