Kenya: Rare birth of twin elephants

An elephant has given birth to twins in Kenya, a rare occurrence for the largest land mammal, an association for the protection of this endangered species announced on Friday (24 November).

Elephants are seen at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park on November 1, 2023. (Illustration photo) via REUTERS - POOL

By: RFI Follow


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The two elephant calves were born in the Samburu National Reserve in the north of the East African country to a female named Alto, Save the Elephants said, rejoicing in the "double joy".

Cases of twins account for only about 1% of elephant births, but the Samburu Game Reserve saw the birth of two more twin elephant calves – one male and one female – in early 2022.

In a video posted by Save the Elephants on its X account (formerly Twitter), the two baby elephants can be seen suckling their mother, in the presence of the other individuals in the group.

Hooray! Yet another set of twins (both female) have been born in Samburu National Reserve almost two years after Bora from the Winds gave birth to twins for the first time in decades. Meet Alto's double joy who were first spotted by our researchers this week.

🎥 Gilbert Sabinga

— Save the Elephants (@ste_kenya) November 24, 2023

Female elephants have the longest gestation period of any mammal, carrying their young for nearly 22 months and giving birth about every four years.

Elephant twins don't always make it: twins born in Samburu in 2006 survived only a few days.

There are more than 36,000 elephants in Kenya, according to figures from the country's first national wildlife census conducted in 2021.

This is a 12% increase from the population recorded in 2014, when poaching for ivory was higher.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned in 2021 that poaching and habitat destruction, particularly due to land conversion for agriculture, were having a devastating effect on elephant numbers across Africa.

(With AFP)

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