Former Circus Elephants Who Had Been Like Mother and Daughter Were Separated for 22 Years and Reunited at an Elephant Sanctuary

July 27, 2017


It’s often been said that an elephant never forgets, and these two elephants prove just how true that is. Shirley and Jenny were circus elephants who spent years together before being separated for 22 years. Their story began when Jenny was just a calf, new to the United States, and Shirley was in her twenties. Shirley quickly became Jenny’s surrogate mother.

Shirley and Jenny were separated, and Shirley then spent the next twenty years away from all other elephants. Jenny was already present at the rescue when Shirley arrived, and was out on the grounds. At the end of the day and as night grew, Jenny returned to the elephant house where Shirley awaited her return. The pair did not appear to recognize each other.

The two were separated overnight, a metal fence keeping them apart. When staff arrived in the morning to be sure they were alright, loud trumpeting and roaring could be heard. When they entered the house, staff saw the strong metal fence between the two had been bent as the two tried to be as close to one another as they could.

When the Fence between them was removed, Shirley and Jenny were able to reunited. The two have since become inseparable and will have the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives - together.


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