They say elephants never forget and this video is evidence of that. Charlie Franks loved elephants from a young age, and back in 1955 he and his wife Madeline adopted Sunita (Nita, for short), a young Asian elephant who was 5 years old at the time. The couple raised Nita and trained her. She would appear with him in parades, on TV shows and other events. Unlike circus elephants of the past and present, Nita was loved by Charlie and Madeline like she was their child.
When Charlie was set to retire, he knew he had to find Nita a home. He refused to sell her to a circus, where he had no way of knowing how she would be treated. Instead, he donated her to the Wild Animal Park in San Diego, California in 1974. She became the park’s smartest and most beloved elephant.
Fifteen years later, he reunited with her at the park. I didn’t think Nita recognized his voice at first, but she saunters over to him and lifts her trunk and the two old friends picked up exactly where they left off!
“Their actions are so much like a human being, that you can’t help but fall for them,” says Charlie in the video and adds, “If you take care of them, they are friends for life.”
Charlie was around 80 at the time this video was shot in 1989 and he knew it was unlikely he would ever see Nita again. And he was right. He passed away shortly after this segment was recorded. Nita died in 2009 at the advanced age of 60. This video remains a tribute to Charlie and Nita and the bond that human and animal can share if there is mutual respect and love.
Share this heartwarming reunion with your family and friends!