A zoo in New York has welcomed twins from an Asian elephant mother for the first time.
Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York said mother elephant Mali gave birth to healthy male twins.
The first elephant was born around 2 a.m., weighing 99 kg. Then, 10 hours later, mother Mali gave birth to a second male elephant, weighing 107 kg but significantly weaker than the first.
The research team did not predict the birth of twins because this case rarely occurs, while the ultrasound process for elephants is very complicated. However, zoo staff still prepare a specialized milk to supplement the elephants’ diet.
The zoo said it had never recorded a case of twin elephants surviving birth in the US, making this birth a ‘historic moment’ for Rosamond Gifford.
The zoo said elephant twins account for less than 1% of births and often the baby elephants are stillborn because their health is too weak to survive. In some cases, the mother elephant also dies after giving birth.
When born, the second elephant was in weaker physical condition, but its condition improved after being monitored and cared for by the animal care team. A management representative at the zoo said this birth marks the first successful case of elephant twins in the US.