This moving image shows the adorable moment an elephant touched trunks with her daughter and granddaughter at a zoo in Germany after being separated for 12 years.
In the wild, bull elephants leave the herd to find a mate but female elephants tend to remain with their mothers for life. The reunion of the family is part of a programme to slowly recreate this natural process in herds being held in captivity.
Thirty-nine-year-old elephant Pori was moved from her former home in Berlin to the Bergzoo in the eastern city of Halle, where she was reunited with her 19-year-old daughter Tana after 12 years of separation.
The grandmother also met her granddaughters Tamika, aged four, and Elani, one, for the first time.
The elephant house will remain closed for the time being to give the animals a chance to relax and become reacquainted, according to a statement from the zoo, but visitors will still be able to see the elephants in their outdoor area.
For now, Pori is in a separate enclosure from her offspring but in the next few days they will spend time together in the outer section to get accustomed to each other.
Pori is an African elephant who was born wild in Zimbabwe in 1981 and brought to Germany to the Magdeburg Zoo, where she lived from 1983 to 1997, when she was sent to the for Tierpark Berlin for breeding purposes.
In 2001, she gave birth and raised her first calf Tana.
In nature, elephants always live together in family groups, each led by a lead member.
Daughters tend to stay with their mothers for life, while young bulls leave the herd as soon as they are sexually mature.
The Zoo director, Dr Dennis Muller, said: ‘Pori’s arrival in Halle is an important step in modern elephant husbandry.
‘In the future, all elephant herds in European zoos should be cared for in such natural family structures. Today we have come a great deal closer to this goal. ‘
The elephant population in zoos is monitored as part of a conservation breeding program (EEP), within which committees made up of experts from different zoos determine new herd compositions and the resulting animal moves.