There have been extremely rare occasions where elephants give birth to twins, conservationists said on Thursday.
The conservation group Saving the Elephants said that the two twins — one male and one female — were born to a mother named Bora.
They were found by a tourist guide and witnessed by many lucky people over the weekend at Samburu National Reserve.
Videos show the days-old newborns getting used to their African savannah environment with their mother and an older sibling. The calf that was born in 2017 is Bora’s first baby.
African elephants have one of the longest single gestation periods of any living mammal. They carry their young for about 22 months and give birth every four years.
“Twins are rarely found in elephant populations and make up only one percent of births,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, in a statement.
However, the life expectancy for elephant twins tends to be less than other animal twins. Two-week-old twins born at Samburu in 2006 survived only a few days.
“The mothers don’t often have enough milk to feed two calves.”
“We hope that the new twins stay fighting for their lives, but the next few days will be touch and go.”
There are an estimated 36,280 elephants in Kenya if it’s taken into account the national wildlife census conducted last year.
That percentage represents a 12% increase in the population numbers records in 2014 when killing for ivory was higher.
Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned that elephant poaching and habitat loss due to land conversion had had a devastating impact on African elephants overall.
The population of African savanna elephants dropped by about 60 percent in the last fifty years, prompting their reclassification to “endangered” on the latest update of the IUCN’s “Red List” of threatened species.