Rare Elephant Twins Born at New York Zoo Surprise Staff

by Megan Molseed
(Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/GettyImages)

It was a “sheer improbability” that staff at the New York Zoo weren’t even expecting when a very rare set of elephant twins were born in the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, reports note. The momma elephant, Mali, gave birth to the pair in the Syracuse New York zoo on October 24. Now, visitors can see the unique pair in person during specific visiting hours.

The proud parents, Mali and Doc welcomed the two boy elephant calves while shocking officials who hadn’t even prepared for the possibility of a twin birth.

“We’ve made history!” notes the caption in the Rosamond Gifford Zoo tweet announcing the birth.

“When we first announced the pregnancy of Asian elephant Mali, we assumed our herd of six Asian elephants would become seven,” the comment adds. Well, we not only welcomed the seventh member of our Asian elephant herd – but our eighth. Mali had twins!”

Most instances of elephant twin pregnancies, even in the wild, result in either calf death or the death of the mother.

Less Than 1% Of Elephant Births End In Multiples

Officials at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo note that elephant births resulting in multiples make up less than 1% of elephant births worldwide. Furthermore, this is the first recorded elephant twin birth to occur in the United States.

“To date, there has never been a recorded case of surviving elephant twins in the United States,” zoo officials note in a statement. According to the experts, the very few successful elephant twin births that have occurred have taken place in Asia and Africa.

“The few successful twin births have only taken place in their range countries in Asia and Africa and nowhere else in the world,” the release explains.

These births are so rare that the staff hadn’t even entertained it as a possibility. It was a “sheer improbability” the experts relate. Additionally, elephant ultrasounds are very complex.

A “Truly Historic Moment”

According to Ryan J. McMahon, county executive at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, this is a “truly 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,” Mahon adds. He adds that the impact will have a “significant impact worldwide.”

“The important research happening right here at the zoo will have a significant impact worldwide,” he notes. “On behalf of this magnificent endangered species.”

Visitors who want to catch a glimpse of the twins can pop in to see the pair during set times, 11-11:30 a.m. or 2-2:30 p.m.