While this may sound like something from a Disney film, we assure you that it is nothing less than true love: A male stork flies 13,500 kilometers every single year to be with his beloved. 

This year, for the twelfth time, the male known as Klepetan has made the journey all the way from southern Africa to be with Malena, who can’t join him on the annual migration because one of her wings was damaged years ago by hunters, says French broadcaster TF1.

Everyone in the small Croatian village of Brodski Varos knows this extraordinary couple, especially Stjepan Vokic, a former primary school caretaker who adopted Malena 20 years ago. “He [Klepetan] arrived 12 hours early this year,” Vokic said. To the town’s delight, Klepetan has never forgotten about Malena, whose name means Little One in Croatian, and he comes back each spring.

When Klepetan and Malena have chicks, he teaches them to fly before leaving with them when winter comes. Meanwhile, Malena sits tight back in Brodski Varos, awaiting spring when her loved one returns.

Building their nest together — Photo: Screengrab via TF1