Monday, 4 October 2021

The Storkman Movie: Origins of Famous Malena The Stork Online

October 4, 2021 - The Storkman Movie is a documentary about rescuing the famous Croatian stork called Malena, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Croatian and international animal lovers were sad due to the tragic loss earlier in July of 2021when the beloved stork Malena (a Croatian word that can be roughly be translated as little one when talking to/about a female) passed away.

As many already know, Malena was the stork Guillette to Klepetan, a male stork who would always return to her in the Slavonian village of Brodski Varoš, located not too far from Slavonski Brod.

The love birds filled Croatian and global news outlets for nineteen years and it all started with Brodski Varoš resident Stjepan Vokić. He found Malena in 1993. Her wing had been shot through, and Vokić rescued her. Vokić's nurturing saved her life, but Malena couldn't fly anymore and, unlike many storks flying south every year, had to stay in the village forever. This makes Klepetan's return every year after the two first met in 2002 all the more interesting, showing animals have both love and loyalty humans could learn a lot from.

So much so, it inspired a documentary film produced in 2020 and titled ''The Storkman''.

''The story of a retired and widowed man from Slavonski Brod amazed many, kept our hearts warm and returned a feeling of hope that man and nature still have sympathy for each other and that the love between humans and animals can withstand even the biggest obstacles in their way,'' reads the movie description on Culturenet.

The director of the film is Tomislav Jelinčić, whom the Croatian audience know best as a journalist, editor, and TV host at RTL television.

The movie premiered in Croatian cinemas back in May 2021, but now you can also watch it online with English subtitles on Vimeo on demand.

Taking the focus away from solely being about Malena and Klepetan's love story, the film promises to reveal more about the nurturing of Malena herself.

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

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

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.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Top Events in Croatia from April 12-18, 2021

April 18, 2021 – Apart from the news about TCN's CEO Paul Bradbury being sued by the Croatian National Tourist Board, this week has been full of many other exciting yet inspiring news stories. Here are TCN's five biggest events in Croatia from April 12 to 18, 2021.

With the worsening epidemiological situation and tightening measures in four Croatian counties on Monday, the week didn't start very promising nor positive. However, a lot can happen in seven days, and we list five top news stories from Croatia.

Highlights of the week: Croatian National Tourist Board sues Paul Bradbury

Croatian media have been flooded this week with the news about the two lawsuits against TCN's CEO Paul Bradbury, submitted by the Croatian National Tourist Board because of Bradbury's criticisms of their work.



Namely, CNTB filed two lawsuits against Bradbury, one for a Facebook joke he posted and the other for statements he said in an article on the Croatian portal Index. There was simply no stopping talking about these controversial lawsuits that appalled and disappointed the public this week. Read all the details about the first and second lawsuits in our articles.

Highlights of the week: Rimac Automobili presented a new incredible campus

On the list of people who promote Croatia in the best possible way, Mate Rimac takes one of the leading spots. His company Rimac Automobili never ceases to surprise with the novelties, such as the latest news about constructing the impressive new campus with numerous facilities.


Source: Rimac Automobili

See the impressive video and photos of the forthcoming Rimac campus that stunned the whole of Croatia this week.

Highlights of the week: Many fantastic flight news for Croatia

Although all travel is currently questionable due to the epidemiological situation, hope is still restored by numerous information about flights to and from Croatia published this week.

Thus, for example, Israeli El Al and Arkia flights to Croatia continue, as well as Austrian flights, Polish LOT, Finnair, and Eurowings.


Split airport by Romulić and Stojčić

And even though Croatia will have to wait a bit longer for introducing direct flights from the USA, from this week, the travelers can get from Sarajevo to Chicago by Eastern Airlines.

Highlights of the week: Croatia women's handball national team won HEP Croatia Cup

Croatian athletes do not stop surprising us positively from week to week!

After defeating the current world champions, the Netherlands, the Croatia women's senior national team also defeated the former world champions Brazil and won the HEP Croatia Cup in Poreč.


Source: Hrvatski rukometni savez

Highlights of the week: Klepetan returned to Malena again!

And to sweeten this week, the most famous Croatian love story got its happy follow-up. For the 19th consecutive year, the white stork Klepetan has returned from the south to the nest of his beloved Malena, continuing one of the most beautiful animal love stories in the world!

Spring may not have returned in the form we know, given that this week's temperatures in Croatia are more like autumn's, but it seems like the natural world is very much following its course.

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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Klepetan Returns To Malena For 19th Consecutive Year!

April 14, 2021 - In what may be considered the animal version of Romeo and Juliet, a new chapter has been added as Klepetan returns to Malena to share a nest for one more year.

As reports, Stjepan Vokić, who has been taking care of the baby storks and its mother in Brodski Varoš for years, confirms that Klepetan returns to Malena for 19th year in a row, thus adding one more chapter in what may be considered the best animal love story in the world, even for international media.

Exhausted and dirty from the journey of over 14,000 kilometers, he landed in the nest of Malena, who was patiently waiting for him this year as well.


Credit: Pixsell

Although Klepetan was late, the retired janitor, who has been caring for Malena for 28 years, after he found her with a broken wing, knew he would return.

"I will do my best to provide them with conditions for laying eggs because they have already started working on the offspring. However, the problem is winter and the fact that Malena cannot cover the eggs properly due to the wing that was broken. But Klepetan jumps in even after another egg, he sits on them", says Vokić and adds that it takes Malena 10-15 days to lay eggs.

Stipe feeds them with fish that he procures in ponds about 20 kilometers away.

"This year, due to the winter, there are no worms that they normally feed on," he explains.


Credit: Pixsell

It is worth reminding that in the spring of 2019, everyone, including Stjepan, thought that Klepetan had died, but he returned a year later

"It was very shocking to me, 2019 came on March 18, when it was too cold for them, their eggs literally froze so he left on April 18. I then thought he went to die, he didn't come back the whole time. That is the only thing I could doubt, but now he came again’’, Vokić said at the time.

To date, Klepetan and Malena have given birth to 66 small birds, and the story of this loving couple from Brodski Varoš has traveled the world. In fact, the French media shared the love story between Klepetan and Malena, highlighting the loyalty and commitment between the two storks.

Total Croatia included the story of Klepetan and Malena among the 10 Things Croatia Does Best dedicated article. To learn more about it, click HERE.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Everyone Thought Klepetan Was Dead, But He Has Returned to Malena!

As Index writes on the 3rd of June, 2020, although everyone, including Stjepan Vokic who takes care of Croatia's famous stork couple Klepetan and Malena, thought that Klepetan sadly died last year, he has now returned to Brodski Varos and his beloved Malena.

Although at first he himself was not sure that it was Klepetan, Vokic, who knows the birds very well, now says that it is definitely him.

"It's true, he came back in April, they have three eggs so far, one broke, the cold weather had a bad effect on them... He was right there with me in the yard while she was sitting on her eggs," Stjepan Vokić told Index. Vokic himself freely admits that he is quite shocked by Klepetan's return this year as well after he was certain he had passed away.

"It was very shocking to me, he arrived here on March the 18th last year, it was too cold for them, their eggs were literally frozen, so he left on April the 18th. I thought then that he had gone to die, he didn't come back the whole time. It's the only thing I could think that had happened, but now he's here again. At the minute he isn't dancing around me, as if to apologise, I don't know how to interpret it differently,'' says Vokic, adding that there are several nests nearby, but that only Croatia's adored love birds Klepetan and Malena have any eggs at the minute.

Vokic has been caring for Malena and Klepetan for 27 years now, and this feathered love story has delighted the whole world.

For more, follow our lifestyle page.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Klepetan Returns to Malena for the Last Time Before Passing Away

The beautiful Croatian love story, involving not two people but two storks, won hearts all over the globe. As did the carer of the two birds, who explained not only the devotion between Klepetan and Malena, but his devotion to the care of the pair.

Tragically, this love story has reached its end, and these birds stuck to the principle of ''until death do us part'' much more accurately than the majority of humans.

As RTL writes on the 28th of August, 2019, Croatia's feathered Romeo and Juliet story has sadly come to an end, as Malena loses her life partner, Klepetan.

Klepetan returned from his annual travels to Brodski Varoš on March the 18th this year, much earlier than usual, but did not return to stay with his partner Malena through the summer, but to say a final goodbye to her after a lifetime of loyal togetherness.

Retired janitor Stjepan Vokić, who has been caring for Malena for thirty years, explained that his ''Klepo'' returned to the nest and his beloved Malena for the last time looking old, tired, and very unwell.

"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.

''Malena gave birth to 66 little ones, that's enough for one mother. I'm very attached to her. I don't go to the coast or with friends anywhere, I always just worry about her. I try to find fish to feed her, but it's very difficult because she is devastated,'' said Stjepan, who despite all the problems he has in caring for Malena and her little ones, remains loyal to her.

Stjepan went around the local area looking for Klepetan after he came to bid a final goodbye to Malena, but could not find him. It was then clear to him that Klepetan had passed away.

The heartwarming love story of Malena and her eternally faithful Klepetan ended up on the famous site ''The Dodo'' and delighted hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Rest in peace, Klepetan.

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.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.


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

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Klepetan is Back, Once Again

Once more, Klepetan makes Croatia smile as he returns to his Malena.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Is Croatian Bureaucracy Preventing a Human Klepetan and Malena Love Story?

A plea for help for a smitten South African, trying to get back to Zagreb to be with his Croatian love on September 20, 2017.