Meet Klepetan: The Stork Who Flies 8000 Miles From South Africa to Croatia Each Year to Visit His Love

Two adult storks in a nest
Two adult storks in a nest
Bozidar Acimov/iStock via Getty Images

A stork is proving that long-distance relationships can work. Klepetan, a South African male stork, flies over 8000 miles each year to spend time with his avian lady love. As far as those involved with the story can tell, the two have been in this relationship for at least 16 years.

As Travel + Leisure relates, the female stork—Malena—was found injured by a pond after being shot by a hunter. A Croatian janitor, Stjepan Vokić, took her under his (figurative) wing in order to nurse her back to health. “If I had left her in the pond foxes would have eaten her,” Vokić says. “But I changed her fate, so now I’m responsible for her life.”

It was while under his care that Vokić noticed a male suitor would drop by to see Malena around the same time each year. Vokić named him “Klepetan” for the knocking sound the birds make with their beaks. Klepetan and Malena are anomalies in the stork world, as the species doesn’t necessarily mate for life. It’s an annual occasion so special that Vokić even prepares a welcome bucket of fish to celebrate Klepetan’s arrival.

Thanks to a tracking ring, the winged Romeo’s location has been pegged as somewhere near Cape Town when he’s not spending time with Malena. The journey itself is about a month long, proving his dedication when it comes to reuniting with the missus and their brood.

However, there is some concern that the lovebirds' story may have reached an end. The stork that visited Malena in March of this year may not be Klepetan. According to a Facebook post made by Vokić’s son Dario in a closed group devoted to the pair, “The real Klepetan probably didn’t arrive. The current stork is acting weird, he came for a meal and then he [left] for two days.” This is very atypical for Klepetan, as he and Malena are purportedly “inseparable” during his stay.

As of press time, there was no reported confirmation of Klepetan's 2019 arrival. Some fear that the stork may have died of old age. "This is the law of nature. Klepetan did his part. I noticed him being very tired last year, when the time of migration arrived,” Vokić told the Croatia Times.

Still, that doesn't mean you can't be inspired by their stork's commitment. For more information, watch this animated video detailing the history of their love story.

12 Perfectly Spooky Halloween Decorations Under $25

Amazon/shopDisney
Amazon/shopDisney

Halloween is right around the corner—which means it’s officially time to bring out the jack-o'-lanterns, watch scary movies, buy your costume(s), and hang up your festive decorations. Although there are thousands of decorations to choose from, you don’t have to blow your budget while decking out your house or apartment in honor of the spooky season this year. With a little guidance, you'll find plenty of ways to create the perfect ambiance at home without going for broke. (And best of all, you can put the money you saved toward extra Halloween candy to stash away.)

From giant spiders to hanging ghosts and lawn decorations, here are a few of our favorite props under $25.

1. Halloween Pillow Covers (4-Pack); $17

ZJHAI/Amazon

These adorable Halloween-themed pillowcases make the perfect accessory for any couch, sofa, or mattress. Made with thick linen fabric, these are durable, sturdy, and designed to last for seasons to come. (Tip: To prevent the zipper from breaking, fold the pillow in half before inserting.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Black Lace Spiderweb Fireplace Mantle; $12

Aerwo/Amazon

This versatile spiderweb prop is made with 100-percent polyester, and its knit lace spiderweb pattern adds a spooky touch to any home. Display it on your doorway, across your fireplace mantel, or atop your table. (It also makes a great backdrop for Halloween photo ops.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Statement Halloween Signs; $16

Dazonge/Amazon

These festive, statement-making banners come pre-assembled, making them incredibly easy to install. They’re also weather-resistant and washable for both outdoor and indoor use. Use tape, push-pins, or weights to prevent the signs from blowing away.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Jack Skellington and Sally Plush Dolls; $23 (Each)

Disney

Celebrate your favorite holiday with a pair of adorable Jack Skellington and Sally plush dolls from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack stands at 28 inches tall, while Sally is a bit shorter at 21 inches. Set them up on your sofa or against the window sill for all to see.

Buy them: Disney Shop (Jack and Sally)

5. Halloween Zombie Groundbreaker; $22

Joyin/Amazon

This spooktacular zombie lawn decoration is sure to scare all of your friends, family, and neighbors alike. Made with a combination of latex, plastic, and fabric, this durable Halloween prop is sure to last for years to come.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Hanging Ghost Decoration; $14

Moon Boat/Amazon

Drape this handmade, 14-foot-long hanging ghost decoration over your porch, doorway, or window. You can also hang it outdoors over a tree or a (very tall) bush. And, since it comes pre-assembled, you won’t have to waste time constructing it yourself.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Two-Piece Hanging Ghost Set; $17

GeeFuun/Amazon

This pair of ghosts adds a whimsical touch to any home. While they’re not “scary,” per se, they certainly are adorable. Display them in your front yard, on your porch, on a lamppost, or a tree. To hang, simply tie the ribbons and bend the wires, arms, and tails.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Pumpkin String Lights; $19

Eurus Home/Amazon

Not only are these solar-powered, 33-foot-long LED string lights good for the environment, they’re also incredibly easy to install (no long, tangly power cable chords necessary). Since they’re waterproof, you can use them both indoors and outdoors. Choose from eight different light settings, including twinkling, flashing, fading, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Inflatable Ghost; $22

Joiedomi/Amazon

This adorable inflatable ghost (which dons a cute-as-can-be wizard hat!) features built-in LED lights and sandbags to help it stay sturdy. It also comes complete with a plug, extended cords, ground stakes, and fastened ropes. Simply plug it in and watch it magically inflate within just a few minutes.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Graveyard Tombstones; $17

meiguisha/Amazon

Turn your front lawn into a graveyard with this six-piece set. Each tombstone is made with foam and designed to add a touch of spookiness to your space. To install, insert one holder into the bottom of the tombstone, and one into the soil. You can use these indoors, as well.

Buy it: Amazon

11. 10-Piece Skeleton Set; $24

Fun Little Toys/Amazon

This skeleton set includes a skull, hands and arms, and legs and feet—plus five stakes to hold everything in place. Each “bone” and “joint” is flexible, allowing you to prop the skeleton into different frighteningly fun poses. Simply place the stakes into the bone socket and turn clockwise.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Outdoor Spider Web; $18

amenon/Amazon

This giant, ultra-stretchy spider web spans a whopping 23 feet. It also includes a 30-inch black spider, 20 pieces of fake spiders, one hook, and one nail. Its thick polyester rope—combined with the sturdy stakes—allows the spider web to stay in place all season long. Place the hook on a wall or tree, and expand the web using the stakes.

Buy it: Amazon

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Drop Everything! Fat Bear Week Has Arrived in Alaska’s Katmai National Park

Lefty, last year's Fat Bear Week runner-up.
Lefty, last year's Fat Bear Week runner-up.
Katmai National Park, Flickr // Public Domain

Each autumn, Katmai National Park in Alaska celebrates ursine obesity in the best way possible: by holding a week-long competition to determine which bear is the fattest.

Since park rangers can’t exactly ask a wild brown bear to stand on a scale, it’s less about how much the bears might weigh and more about how much larger they’ve gotten since the spring. According to explore.org, which hosts the online event, the bears will drop about one-third of their body weight while hibernating over the long winter. In order to survive those months without any food or water, they spend the summer scarfing down all the salmon (and other sustenance) they can get their paws on. By early October, they’re gloriously corpulent—and it’s up to you to decide which one deserves to be the champion of this year’s Fat Bear Week.

Every day between now and October 6, Katmai National Park will post one or two new bear-vs.-bear matchups—the first at 12 p.m. EDT and the second at 4 p.m. EDT—and ask the public to vote for the bear they want to see advance to the next round of the single-elimination tournament. Each entry includes a photo of the bear from June or July and another from the last few weeks, so you can easily see how much they’ve ballooned.

You can learn about the bears on the “Meet the Bears of Fat Bear Week” page, and you can also try to spot them for yourself on explore.org’s livestreams. Once you’ve chosen your favorite, you can see which competitor they might face next on the bracket. Last year’s winner, Holly, is defending her title, but she might have a conflict of interest—this year, her cub is competing, too. If Holly wins her next round, and her cub wins her next two rounds, mother and daughter could battle it out in the semifinals on Monday, October 5.