Rare elephant twins born at Syracuse Zoo, NY
Incredibly rare twin elephants made history when they were born at a zoo in upstate New York last month.
Syracuse’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo welcomed not one, but two male Asian elephants when twins to parents Mali and Doc were born on Oct. 24, the zoo said.
Zoo staff were shocked when a second calf was born about ten hours after the first.
Less than 1% of elephant births are twins, and when twins are born, one is often stillborn or too weak to survive.
Mali’s twins are the first documented case of surviving twin elephants born in the United States.
The few successful elephant twin births have taken place in countries in Asia and Africa.
The birth of Mali’s victories is a historic moment for the zoo and a win for the protection of the Asian elephant as the species is listed as endangered with just 20,000 left in the wild.
Mali gave birth to her first baby, a 220-pound male calf, around 2 a.m. with no complications. Ten hours later, at 11:50 a.m., in a shocking turn of events for zoo staff, a second male calf was born.
The second calf weighed 237 pounds but was noticeably weaker at first, prompting the zoo’s animal care team and veterinary staff to take action.
Mali and her two calves are currently doing well and are being monitored 24/7 by zoo staff to ensure they continue to thrive.
According to officials, the zoo was not expecting twins “due to the sheer improbability as well as the complexity of elephant ultrasounds.” While not expecting the historic birth, they were still primed with a special milk replacer to help the second calf grow strong.
“I cannot commend my team enough for everything they have done over the past few weeks to ensure the care and safety of Mali and her twins. It was incredible to see them in action and witness the high level of expertise, professionalism and focus under pressure,” said zoo director Ted Fox.
“The continued work and research that follows will add significantly to the global research effort on behalf of elephant care, elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) and more.”
While her birth will help increase the population of the endangered species, the zoo hopes she will also help eradicate EEHV, a deadly elephant disease. Mali and Doc’s previous two calves died from elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, which is the leading cause of death in young elephants.
As part of the research effort on EEHV, Mali’s placentas were shipped to Baylor University for elephant research, where they will be studied and used in research to develop a vaccine to combat EEHV.
The twins increase the zoo’s elephant population to eight. The Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve, which houses the creatures, has family dynamics that mimic natural herd composition in the wild, the zoo said.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/17/rare-twin-elephants-born-at-syracuse-ny-zoo/ Rare elephant twins born at Syracuse Zoo, NY