In January, elephant twins were first spotted in Samburu National Reserve. They were just a few days old when they were first seen by the team. After being spotted, they disappeared into the wilderness for months. On March 19th and 20th, the twins were spotted with their mom, alive and well. This in itself is a small miracle.
African elephants usually give birth to one elephant every four years or so. Since they are pregnant for 22 months, this is pretty fast. For an elephant to give birth to twins is rare and happens only 1 percent of the time. In most cases, the calves don’t survive due to lack of milk and nutrition. The last elephant twins recorded in the Samburu area was in 2006. Sadly, those two twins did not survive.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants said; “Elephant twins are very rare. In fact they rarely live as twins as usually one or more die. It’s a big stress on the mother to have two calves to feed.” He also mentioned that over the years he has seen a few other twins born but none that survived. With the recent rainfall in the area, he is confident that the mother and the two calves will thrive. We all hope so!
What determines if these twins survive is the available resources and their mother. Bora, the twins’ mother, had a previous calf. She is five years old now, thriving, and still with the Winds II herd. Since Bora has experience raising a calf, there is a greater chance for the elephant twins to make it. By the time the twins are around two, they will be weaned and foraging for food. Once the male is around 12 he will leave the herd and be on his own.