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Bandipur Tiger Reserve witnesses rare twin elephant birth, new calves seen taking baby steps as mother watches

Soon after the birth, the two toddlers joined their mother back in the herd. Dr Ramesh said as of now, they were not tracking the newly born calves as they did not want to disturb or add pressure on the newborns.

An elephant giving birth to twins is one of the rarest incidents. On April 18, a wild mother elephant gave birth to twins in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR). Elephant expert R Sukumar said as per records, only four such twin births have been recorded since 1926.

As per reports, on the day when the cow elephant gave birth to the calves, the tourists and staffers spotted her in a herd of elephants. She was in labour and struggling to give birth close to the old ticket counter. To ease the pain, she went into a small water body where she gave birth to the calves. When the tourists learned about the birth, they gathered close to the water body.

BTR director Dr Ramesh Kumar said, “The wild cow elephant, which was still in postdelivery pain, was petrified to come out of the water as a large crowd had gathered. Everyone could see two small heads floating in the water. Fearing that they would drown as all three were not coming out of the water, we cleared the crowd and guarded the area. After a long wait, feeling safe, the mother elephant emerged from the water body and then helped her calves out.”

Soon after the birth, the two toddlers joined their mother back in the herd. Dr Ramesh said as of now, they were not tracking the newly born calves as they did not want to disturb or add pressure on the newborns.

According to conservationists, such twins have to be monitored closely. R Sukumar, an elephant expert, said only one per cent of elephant births in captivity are twins. The percentage in the wild is still unknown.

On May 21, 1971, a cow elephant Devaki had given birth to Vijay and Sujay.

The second such birth was recorded in Bandipur in the 1980s when Ashwin and Bharini were born. The third was in Tamil Nadu, and the recent one recorded was in Mudumalai. Because of their large bodies and long gestation periods, it is rare for elephants to give birth to more than one calf.

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