Wildlife experts are cautiously hopeful following the birth of elephant twins at a reserve in Kenya.
The two babies, a male and female, were born this week at Samburu National Reserve to a mother named Bora, the nonprofit Save the Elephants announced. The charity’s elephant researchers work within the park and it also trains guides to help monitor the animals.
“Twins are rarely encountered in elephant populations — and form around only 1% of births,” zoologist and Save the Elephants founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton said in a statement. “Quite often the mothers don’t have enough milk to support two calves.”
The quality of vegetation available for the mother elephant to eat, as well as the mother’s experience, are both big factors in the potential survival of a pair of twins, according to an Instagram post from the nonprofit. In this case, Bora has successfully already raised one calf that was born in 2017. Researchers with the charity plan to pay close attention to the elephant family and monitor the young elephants’ health.
“The next few days will be touch and go for the new twins but we all have our fingers crossed for their survival,” Douglas-Hamilton said.
African elephants are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with the biggest threats being poaching and habitat loss.