Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Malena Passed Away: Croatia Mourns End of Klepetan and Malena Stork Love Story

July 7, 2021 - Croatia is sad to learn of the passing of beloved Malena, thus ending the heartwarming love story of the most famous storks in Croatia - Klepetan and Malena.

Nineteen years of stork romance between Malena and Klepetan in the Slavonian village of Brodski Varoš (near Slavonski Brod), has sadly come to a tragic end. As reports, Malena passed away after failing to eat for eleven days.

''I tried to feed her but it didn't work,'' said Stjepan Vokić, a former janitor who found Malena 28 years ago. The year was 1993, and Malena was injured (her wing had been shot) so Vokić rescued her, and the two spent time together, awaiting the arrival of spring. As Malena couldn't travel due to her injured wing, she could only rely on Vokić to help her through tough winter months, and she kept him company.

In 2002, another important man (well, actually a male stork), Klepetan, showed up in her life, and the couple gave life to 66 small storks. Their love was challenged with Klepetan, doing what storks do, fleeing to Africa every autumn. However, Malena waited for him, and he couldn't forget her either, and their occasional long-distance romance indeed grew into true love and not just a summer fling.

''I noticed she wasn't well on June 9. It was just when the heatwave started. She wanted to go after Klepetan, but she couldn't. She fell down, and I brought her inside. She didn't want to eat nor did she want to drink any water. It was as if she wanted to end her life because falling down is a humiliation for storks, I'd say,'' Vokić said to Večernji List, adding that she passed away peacefully, closing her eyes while on the lap of one of Vokić's friends and dying.

The romance of Klepetan and Malena was followed globally, and many Croatians mourned when the news broke out. Naturally, nobody took it harder than Klepetan.

''He comes every evening. I tell him, 'she's gone now, Klepo'. I buried her in her favourite place where she always waited for him,'' said Vokić.

He added that he would wait for Klepetan and welcome him to his place if he decides to return next year.



Stjepan Vokić who rescued and took care of Malena, screenshot / Jelena Osijek OS

The 19-year romance of Klepetan and Malena couldn't have gone unnoticed for us here at TCN.

Klepetan returned every year (sooner or later), and in 2019, many feared that the love story had concluded with Klepetan's death.

"Four of them (birds) came and began making some very sad noises. I knew then that Klepo had gone, he had died. You know how they say that birds die singing," Vokić sadly said in 2019.

However, it was, fortunately, a false alarm, as Klepetan returned in 2020.

At least Malena's love story, while challenging, was much happier than the famous literary tragedy, as she was happily in love and the 66 kids of Malena and Klepetan raise the stork count in Croatia, adding to Croatia's bird population and general biodiversity.

Storks are beloved guests at Lonjsko Polje. Learn more on our TC page

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Croatia's Lovebirds: Klepetan Returns to Malena Earlier Than Usual

''Trembling with the cold, he isn't yet used to these low temperatures. He arrived yesterday at 15:00 and immediately devoured two kilos of meat,'' Stjepan Vokić stated when talking about Croatia's most famous lovebirds (or storks, to be more precise), Klepetan and Malena.

As Vecernji list/Ivan Halar writes on the 19th of March, 2019, the love story between the two most famous storks in Croatia, Klepetan and Malena, is still very much in bloom. For the seventeenth time, after leaving to head for the warmer regions, Croatia's beloved stork Klepetan returned to his beloved Malena in the Slavonski Brod area of Brodski Varoš. However, his return this year has occurred earlier than usual because he usually comes back right at the end of March.

Stjepan Vokić, who observed Klepetan trying to re-adjust to the much colder climes is a now retired janitor of a school in Brodski Varoš, he has been taking care of the storks since 1993.

Vokić added that he was surprised by Klepetan's early return, but says that ''nature knows its own''.

"I saw seven storks flying over the playground and then landing. I went up to them to find out if Klepetan was among them. When I approached them with the meat, Klepetan recognised me and immediately came up to me. After he had eaten, he flew into his nest where Malena was waiting for him,'' said Vokić, adding that the pair had already made up for Klepetan's absence with some ''fun'', and in just a few weeks, Malena will likely lay eggs, meaning that maybe some baby storks might appear on the scene.

''It's plain to see that the long journey has worn Klepetan out. So, as they're accustomed to it, I'm bringing them some food,'' says Vokić, noting that he took a video of Klepetan's return, and the footage will soon be released on the Facebook page dedicated to the feathered pair, which his son usually edits.

Have a look at Klepetan and Malena's unique relationship with their carer here:


"I'm not exactly all about these phones, my years are here..." Vokić concluded with a smirk and a sense of joy in his voice as his birds were safely reunited once again for the seventeenth year in a row.

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Click here for the original article by Ivan Halar for Vecernji list

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Klepetan and Malena – Croatia’s most Unusual Love Story

Proof that true love does return in spring.