Baby Elephant Born
31 January 2011, 14:11
A baby elephant whose twin died has been causing excitement at the British wild animal park where he was born.
The as-yet-unnamed male was born to mother Masa following a 22-month pregnancy at Howletts, near Canterbury, Kent.
The African elephant calf came into the world on January 25 but his twin did not survive.
Ecstatic officials are still heralding the survival of its sibling and mother as a major success.
Elephants rarely give birth to twins because an elephant foetus weighs so much and also due to the nutritional demands placed on the mother.
Charlotte Jones, of Howletts wild animal park, said: ``Twin elephants are incredibly rare, estimated to occur in less than 2% of cases. For both mother and one of the calves to have survived is a great success.
``The birth of twins in the wild will often result in the death of both mother and calves.''
She added: ``The mother is doing fine and didn't have any complications.
``It could have been a lot more distressing for her. The calf is doing well also.''
The first set of surviving male twin elephants are believed to have been born in the rural area of Tha Lad in Surin, Thailand, last year.
Pictures by Press Association