The male and female calves were first spotted by tour guides out on safari at the Samburu National Reserve on the morning of January 16.
In an extremely rare event that's left wildlife conservationists overjoyed, a set of twin baby elephants were born at a national reserve in northern Kenya earlier this month. The male and female calves were first spotted by tour guides out on safari at the Samburu National Reserve on the morning of January 16. According to UK-registered conservation charity, Save the Elephants (STE), the twins were roughly around a day old when found while hanging out with their mother, Bora. Rangers are keeping a careful watch on the calves, the charity said in a statement, as the chances of their survival are generally thin.
"Rare elephant twins have been born in Samburu National Reserve, Northern Kenya. The discovery was made by guides from the luxury eco-camp, Elephant Watch Camp (EWC) on Sunday morning (January 16)," the statement reads. "The guides at EWC are trained by Save the Elephants (STE) to recognize individual elephants and families in the park. They alerted researchers from Save the Elephants who confirmed that the calves are a male and female, and were roughly one day old. The mother of the twins is a female named Bora from Winds II family. Save the Elephants has been studying and monitoring elephant behaviour and movement in Samburu for 28 years so knows the family well. The twins are Bora's second born. She also has an older calf which was born in 2017 and was seen in the vicinity of Bora and the twins on Sunday."
Speaking of the calves' birth, STE founder Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton cautioned that this was a critical time for the young ones as the last set of twins born 15 years ago had not survived long after birth. "Twins are rarely encountered in elephant populations - and form around only 1% of births. Quite often the mothers don't have enough milk to support two calves. In fact the birth of twins has only ever been recorded once before in Samburu in 2006. Sadly both calves died shortly after birth in Shaba National Reserve. The next few days will be touch and go for the new twins but we all have our fingers crossed for their survival," he said.
"The survival of the twins depends very much on the quality of the grass and vegetation and the experience of the matriarch. This mother has had successful experience of raising a calf before and the fact that it has rained recently the grass is green in Samburu and gives the little twins a greater chance of survival... We have to cross our fingers, but we are cautiously hopeful," he added in a statement posted to Facebook. According to PEOPLE, Douglas-Hamilton founded STE in 1993, to "secure a future for elephants and sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live, to promote man's delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species."
Photos of the calves have already touched the hearts of thousands across the globe, who showered the twins and their mother with well wishes. "Wonderful news!!! Is the herd semi-wild? Are there other Allo Mother's available to help? This being the 2nd set since 2006, the people of the Reserve need to help make this a wonderful success. The [world] is watching & cheering you on!!!!" commented one YouTube user. "So rare and beautiful, nature has a way of encouragment and surprises... I am soo full of joy," wrote another. "Many blessings of good health and safety... This sentient species are the best at loving and tending their families... carry on dear," commented Bonnie Andelee on Facebook.