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British zookeeper is reunited with elephant he cared for 35 years ago

An elephant never forgets! British zookeeper is reunited with animal he cared for 35 years ago – and is instantly recognised by his old friend

  • Keeper Peter Adams looked after Asian elephant Kirsty in Glasgow in the 1980s 
  • She moved away in 1987 and was shipped to Neunkirchen in Germany in 2005 
  • Mr Adams shared a fond reunion with the elephant who recognised his voice 

A British zookeeper has shared a fond reunion at a German zoo with an elephant he cared for more than 30 years ago. 

Peter Adams was instantly recognised by his old friend Kirsty, an Asian elephant who lived at a Glasgow zoo in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Mr Adams was a keeper at Calderpark Zoo and looked after Kirsty before she moved away in 1987. 

He had lost track of her when she left Scotland but recently discovered that she had moved to Germany and arranged to go and visit her.   

Back in the day: Peter Adams with the elephant Kirsty at Glasgow’s Calderpark Zoo in the 1980s. Kirsty moved away in 1987 but the pair have been reunited more than 30 years later

The two shared a warm hug at their reunion in Germany as Mr Adams stroked the elephant and Kirsty curled her trunk around him. 

Mr Adams said: ‘Of course, I was wondering if there was any truth to the phrase “elephants never forget”.

‘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.’

Zookeepers said the elephant had probably recognised her former minder by the sound of his voice.  

The Scotsman said he will try to visit Kirsty as much as possible now he knows where she lives.  

Peter Adams is reunited with Kirsty after more than 30 years

Mr Adams touches Kirsty's trunk at their reunion in Neunkirchen in Germany

Good to see you: Peter Adams is reunited with Kirsty, who zookeepers said recognised the Scotsman by the sound of his voice, at Neunkirchen Zoo in Germany 

Kirsty, born in 1967, has been living in Neunkirchen Zoo in the western state of Saarland since 2005. 

After leaving Glasgow she had moved to Chester in north-west England where she met her female companion Judy for the first time. 

The pair later moved to Dublin where they lived together from 1994 until 2005 until finally being shipped to Germany. 

‘After a colourful life with several moves around European zoos she has found her retirement retreat with us,’ her current zookeepers said. 

Mr Adams had found Kirsty’s whereabouts by searching online and made contact with the German zookeepers through friends in the city of Trier, the zoo said.  

Calderpark Zoo closed in August 2003 after running up huge debts.  


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