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9 February 2011, 17:07 | Updated: 21 February 2011, 12:02
On 25th of January Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent welcomed a new addition to their African elephant herd.
(pictures, Charlotte Jones)
He has now made his debut to press and public, enjoying the sunny spell in his outside enclosure with mother Masa. Unusually, the as yet unnamed male was one of a pair of twins but unfortunately the other calf did not survive. Howletts believe that the birth of African elephant twins in captivity is a first in the northern hemisphere.
Both calves were born naturally by Masa who is an experienced mother. Twin African elephants are incredibly rare, estimated to occur in less than 2% of cases, and 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.
Animal Director Neil Spooner commented:
‘We are delighted to welcome this new arrival into our successful herd and feel particularly blessed that both Masa and one of the calves survived a potentially fatal birth. Twins are incredibly rare so it was certainly a surprise to us all.’
Howletts Wild Animal Park cares for the largest herd of African elephants in the UK and has had more births than all other UK zoos combined. The calf joins sister Jamma who was born five years ago