African and Asian elephants are truly gentle giants, and many of them are seen in zoos and some lucky people who have seen them in their natural habitats. They are amazing creatures that could have been wiped out if not with the help of conservationists and charities.
Female elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals that lasts as long as 23 months, according to Elephants for Africa. Typically, they only give birth to one offspring at a time, although having twins can also happen. But throughout their whole lives, they can give birth to as many as 12 calves.
A recent sighting of rare two elephants in a Sri Lankan sanctuary was reported Gulf News, feeding from the same mother which led experts to believe that they are twins.
Twin Elephants Spotted in Minneriya Sanctuary
Minneriya National Park is located in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is intended as a national park to protect the wildlife surrounding the area. It is 200 kilometers northeast of Colombo, grazing with a herd of almost a dozen elephants.
On Wednesday, July 8, a pair of baby elephants were spotted in the Sri Lankan national park, and officials speculate that they are a rare set of twins. They estimate that the young tuskers are three to four weeks old.
They first observed the baby elephants from a distance for a while as they feed in the same mother. The experts were confident enough to say that the pair are twins, the Department of Wildlife Conservation Director-General Tharaka Prasad said.
Moreover, the two elephants were also photographed feeding on the same cow on Monday by Sumith Pilapitiy, a renowned conservationist, who also believed that the pair are twins.
Prasad said that the rangers are now carrying DNA tests on the elephants' manure to confirm. If the results match, this will be the first time that wildlife officials on the Indian Ocean island had recorded elephant twins alongside their mother, Prasad added.
The sighting was just near the area where seven elephants died due to poisoning in September, which is blamed on the local farmers.
There are about 200 elephants killed every year on Sri Lanka by local farmers after the pachyderms have strayed onto their land. These marauding elephants kill an average of 50 people every year, and the majority of it was because they have strayed into villages near their habitat.
Sri Lanka's elephant population has declined from an estimated 12,000 in the early 1900s to just over 7,000 according to the latest census.
Twin Elephants Born in Kenya After 38 Years
The pair of elephants spotted in Sri Lanka are not the first recorded twin elephants. In 2018, rare twin elephants were born in Kenya at the Amboseli National Park, a 392 square kilometer National Park located 240 kilometers southeast of Nairobi.
The male and female twin elephants were born at the end of May by the 39-year-old "Paru," who lives in a herd of around 40 elephants.
Officials of the Kenyan Wildlife Service said that the birth of the twins is rare since the last known birth of surviving twins took place in Amboseli 38 years ago, in 1980.