Twin Asian elephants were born in a historic moment at a Syracuse zoo last October 2022.
“We’ve made history!…Well, we not only welcomed the seventh member of our Asian elephant herd – but our eighth. Mali had twins!” Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced.
The miracle twins were born to parents, Mali and Doc, at Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Syracuse, New York, and were doing very well, according to veterinary clinic staff.
The staff was definitely surprised when Mali gave birth to two babies. The probability of having twin elephants was very rare and it was almost impossible to detect it on complex elephant ultrasounds.
Born ten hours apart, the zoo’s animal care team has been constantly monitoring the twin elephants.
This is a rare historic moment and, in most cases, the chances of a successful survival are slim.
“To date, there has never been a recorded case of surviving elephant twins in the United States,” Rosamond Gifford Zoo said. “The few successful twin births have only taken place in their range countries in Asia and Africa and nowhere else in the world.”
The second elephant did come out weaker than the first elephant.
Rosamond Gifford Zoo shared that there are less than 1% of twin elephant births worldwide. And they are either stillborn or very weak when they come out. In fact, the only recorded successful twin elephant births were in Asia and Africa. There have never been any successful twin elephant births in the US so this is a moment they need to really observe and monitor.
The zoo’s animal care team and veterinary staff were quick to respond and took care of the elephant. Luckily, the second elephant’s condition began to improve with their medical care.
Their birth now brings the total number of elephants at the Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve to eight Asian elephants, which is good news for the species.
“Asian Elephants are classified as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their wild populations are threatened by human conflict, habitat destruction and ivory poachers. There are an estimated 20,000 individuals left in the wild,” Rosamond Gifford Zoo added.
Besides the addition of one more elephant to the herd, there is also an important part of this historic birth.
It will help determine the future of Asian elephants. Mali’s placenta was sent to Baylor University for more elephant research. This research will be used for the treatment and development of a vaccine to combat EEHV. This is a lethal strain of herpes in elephants and can become active without warning.
It is also the leading cause of death among young elephants.
Developments from this research will help preserve the species and give them the appropriate care and cure to protect them moving forward.
“This is truly a historic moment for the zoo and our community. I couldn’t be prouder of our exceptional animal care team, the support of the veterinary staff and their tremendous dedication to Mali and the twins,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan J. McMahon declared. “The important research happening right here at the zoo will have a significant impact worldwide on behalf of this magnificent endangered species.”
Want to meet the miracle twin elephants? Watch the video below.
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