This week Kenya received news of two-month-old male and female elephant twins born to Paru. Paru is a 39-year-old mother of the two living at the 392 square-kilometer Amboseli National Park. The park is located 240 kilometers south-east of Nairobi, Kenya, along the Tanzanian border.
At the park, the three elephants are staying close to their herd of 40 elephants. According to Kenneth Ole Nashu Senior Warden of Amboseli at first, they only noticed the three to have a close relationship. They however noticed that the two twins also have a younger (older) sister who is following them about. This means that when the mother is also grazing or grossing (strolling), the twins are cared for by the younger sibling.
A rare occurrence in the elephant population and Kenya
The sibling pair keep close to their beloved mother and older sister for safety as they take on their budding new lives. According to Nashu the twins are a rare occurrence to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The last time the Amboseli park saw an elephant twin birth was in 1980. At that time babies, Equinox, and Eclipse were born. Thirty-eight years passed without another occurrence of elephant twin births. But Paru broke that long wait giving birth to twins. The occurrence is a unique scenario in terms of conservation, particularly in the elephant population.
One of the twins’ new newborns has had a wound on its back since birth, which conservationists believe is slowly healing. Since noticing the wound the conservationists are quite pleased and are currently monitoring and assuring that the babies are in good health. Additionally, veterinarians are also monitoring, and ecological monitoring systems are in place to guarantee that this mother is safe. Such systems ensure they monitor the mother when she walks outside (to the park).
Problems faced at the Amboseli National Park
The Amboseli National Park in Kenya, located near Mount Kilimanjaro, is a renowned tourist destination due to its large quantity of elephants. The park has some 1,600 elephants divided into 58 families. Each family has a two-letter code used to identify them, such as AA, AB, and CA. Furthermore, each family member’s name starts with the first family letter. Paru gave birth to the male and female twins at the end of May during the rainy season and belongs to the PA family, a herd of 40 elephants.
Due to drought, ten elephant calves died in Amboseli National Park in 2017. Because of this, the park’s wardens have now put in place safeguards to ensure the elephants’ safety. The recent birth of twins is considered great news. Mum, Paru, has the aforementioned older female calf, who is acting as the ideal big sister to the twins as they adjust to life as the park’s newest elephant residents.
To safeguard all elephants the Amboseli National Park has also made attempts to reduce poaching. The park has enlisted the help of 300 local scouts who aid the park’s wardens in defending the elephants. Also, the park struggles to deal with the issue of conflict between humans and wildlife. But the conservationist hope to mitigate the issue by conducting an aerial census.
When elephants leave the park, there are a lot of human-wildlife interactions. Conservationists need to monitor the interactions. Undertaking an ecosystem-wide aerial census helps since it’s the most complete type of count performed. It is costly but necessary.