Rare Double Delight: Elephant Twins Bring Miraculous Joy to Rosamond Gifford Zoo

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, is buzzing with excitement following the unexpected and joyous birth of twin Asian elephants on October 24.

Proud parents Mali and Doc welcomed their adorable offspring, marking a historic moment for the zoo.

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Elephant births are typically rare, but the arrival of twins is even more extraordinary, occurring in less than 1% of cases.


The survival rate for twin elephants is meager, making this double birth a cause for celebration and concern.

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The first calf, a robust 220-pound male, debuted around 2 a.m., surprising zoo staff.

Astonishingly, Mali delivered a second male calf, weighing 237 pounds, a surprising 10 hours later. However, the second newborn showed signs of weakness.


The zoo’s dedicated animal care team and veterinary staff sprang into action, providing immediate care to bolster the weaker calf’s health.

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Despite being caught off guard by the rare occurrence, the team had a specialized milk replacer to supplement the second calf’s diet.

County Executive Ryan J. McMahon expressed pride in the exceptional care the zoo’s team provided, emphasizing the unprecedented nature of elephant twins being born in the United States.


The staff’s quick response and the support of the veterinary team ensured the well-being of Mali and her twins.

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The newborns are a special breed of Asian elephants, classified as endangered according to the World Wildlife Fund.

As they grow, these miraculous twins are expected to reach weights of around 11,000 pounds and stand between 6 and 11 feet tall, contributing to preserving their endangered species.


Beyond the joyous occasion, the zoo has additional hopes for the twins’ birth. They aim to contribute to the fight against a fatal elephant disease known as elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus, which claimed the life of Mali and Doc’s previous offspring.

Mali’s placentas have been sent to Baylor University for research to develop a vaccine and treatment for the disease. Ongoing monitoring and testing for the disease will be conducted on the twins.

With the arrival of these twins, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s elephant herd now totals eight. Visitors are invited to witness the miracle babies and the rest of the pack at the zoo’s Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve.


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