This is the heart-warming moment a rescue elephant is meeting another of her kind, for the very first time in more than three decades. The heart-melting scene unfolded at the San Diego Zoo, where 41-year-old Mila – a former circus elephant – got the chance to finally interact with another elephant – Mary, the zoo’s herd leader!
The touching moment was captured on camera and later shared online by the zoo. Mila’s reaction when finally meeting another elephant is nothing but heartwarming, but Mary is also affectionate with her – just like she knows that she has been through a lot – and the two entwine their trunks, an act of compassion that’s frequently seen at elephants.
“It is common for elephants to communicate by touching and entwining their trunks,” elephant expert, Tim Fullman explained. ” [The trunks] play an important role in smell and that rubbing trunks in greeting may be partially to smell each other to gain information.”
You can watch the moment here:
Life was nothing but tough for Mila. She was taken away from her family when she was around 3-year-old, and ever since she was kept in a circus for over 30 years. All those years, the poor elephant never got the chance to interact with another elephant. But her nightmare finally came to an end as she was rescued and taken to a zoo in New Zealand, and from there she was taken to the San Diego Zoo, where she finally met another elephant after so many years!
“We gave Mila the first opportunity to meet another elephant with limited interaction,” the zoo wrote. “We decided that Mary was the best option, given she is a dominant elephant in the herd, is relatively calm, and has a good track record with meeting newcomers.”
“Mary walked up to Mila and they both started eating from the same tree,” said Ron Ringer, keeper at the zoo. “This is a great behavior to see because they were both calm and accepting of each other and it’s one of the types of things we look for with animal introductions.”
Watch Mila and Mary enjoying their time at the San Diego Zoo!