QL Double Delight: Rare Birth of Elephant Twins Brings Joy to Rosamond Gifford Zoo

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, is exciting as it welcomes two adorable additions to its elephant family.

According to a recent press release from the zoo, Asian elephant twins surprised everyone with their unexpected arrival on October 24. Proud parents Mali and Doc are celebrating the birth of not one but two calves.

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This occurrence is infrequent, as less than 1% of elephant births result in twins, and the survival rate for twin elephants is meager.

The first calf, weighing 220 pounds, debuted around 2 am. Astonishingly, Mali surprised everyone 10 hours later by delivering a second male calf, weighing in at 237 pounds. However, the second newborn was noticeably weaker than its sibling.

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Responding swiftly, the zoo’s animal care team and veterinary staff immediately improved the weaker calf’s condition, utilizing a specialized milk replacer to supplement its diet.

This historic event marks the first-ever birth of elephant twins in the United States, highlighting a momentous occasion for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

County Executive Ryan J. McMahon expressed pride in the exceptional animal care team and the dedicated support of the veterinary staff in ensuring the well-being of Mali and the twins.

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The newly arrived miracle twins belong to the endangered Asian elephant species found in South and Southeast Asia, facing threats from habitat fragmentation, human-elephant conflict, and poaching, according to information from the World Wildlife Fund.

As the twins grow, they are expected to reach weights of around 11,000 pounds and stand between 6 and 11 feet tall, based on estimates from the World Wildlife Fund.

Beyond contributing to preserving endangered species, the zoo aims to combat a fatal elephant disease.

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Mali and Doc’s previous offspring succumbed to elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, a herpes strain that is the primary cause of death among young elephants.

Mali’s placentas were sent to Baylor University for research to develop a vaccine and treatment for the disease.

Ongoing monitoring and testing for the disease will be conducted on the twins.

With the arrival of the twins, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s elephant herd now totals eight. Visitors are invited to witness the miracle babies and the rest of the herd at the zoo’s Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve.

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