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Rare ‘miracle’ elephant twins born in Thailand

Written by on June 11, 2024

Newborn elephant twins, a female (R) and a male (L), stand next to their mother Jamjuree at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal in Ayutthaya on June 10, 2024. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty Images)

(LONDON) — An Asian elephant in Thailand has given birth to a rare set of elephant twins, non-profit conservation group Elephantstay announced.

A 36-year-old elephant, Jamjuree, on Friday evening gave birth to a male calf at Thailand’s’ Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal in the north of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok.

About 18 minutes later, keepers were caught by surprise when a female calf emerged.

“Miracle of nature,” wrote Elephantstay in one of several social media posts. “Too cute and thrilling!”

Caught by surprise at her double delivery, Jamjuree attacked her newborn during the frantic delivery, and a keeper who attempted to prevent the attack suffered a blow to his ankle, fracturing it, the group said.

“The mother attacked the baby because she had never had twins before — it’s very rare,” said Michelle Reedy, director of Elephantstay. “The mahouts who are the carers of the elephants jumped in there trying to get the baby away so that she didn’t kill it.”

The young calves weigh 80 kilograms (about 176 pounds) and 60 kilograms (about 132 pounds), respectively. They are set to be named within seven days.

Twins are rarely encountered in elephant populations, making up only 1% of births, according to Save the Elephants. Male-female elephant twins are even rarer. Elephantstay described them as “beautiful miracle twins.”

In an update Tuesday on the twins’ health, Elephantstay said the twins are getting “a little bit stronger every day,” adding, “Because the little girl is so small she can’t reach mums milk, so we have been expressing milk and syringe feeding.”

“The boy wasn’t feeding directly from mum also, but because of his size he should have been doing that already,” the group said. “The mahouts have been working with him everyday teaching him how to feed by himself and he has finally got the hang of it and is doing it on his own.”

Elephantstay said the Royal Elephant Kraal Team has created steps and ramps to assist with feeding, and the babies are receiving “’round the clock” care and supervision for the next couple weeks.

The twins are the newest additions to Thailand’s Asian elephant population, the species listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Species.

“It takes a village and the dedication of everyone here was definitely rewarded with the twins being born,” said Elephantstay in an Instagram post. “An exciting time for Thailand and elephants!”

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