There’s an Elephant Baby Boom in Kenya: Thanks to Rainfall, a Record Number Born Including Rare Twins

August 22, 2020
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The combination of interruptions in international travel and periods of heavy rainfall has led to Kenyan wildlife officials reporting a recent elephant baby boom.

In Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, 140 elephants were born in a single calving season–a record in this park known for its breathtaking views of Kilimanjaro and the savanna.

“It has been a difficult year for all of us but there is still much to celebrate,” said Winnie Kiiru, speaking for the Elephant Protection Initiative in a statement. “Here in Amboseli, elephants are thriving. 140 beautiful calves have been born in 2020 and more are expected.”

In fact, it’s a culmination, of sorts, for the country’s pachyderms. The Kenya Wildlife Service reported on Wednesday that, from 1989 to today, the nation’s elephant population has more than doubled. This is in part because authorities in the past couple of years have “managed to tame poaching in this country,” reports Tourism & Wildlife Minister Najib Balala.

The announcements corresponded with World Elephant Day on August 12—and included the very special news that two of the newborns were twins, a rarity among the species.

Cynthia Moss, director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, told AA News this week, “It seems baby elephants are falling out of the sky. The ability of a female to conceive and carry a calf to term depends greatly on her own physical condition.”

In drought years, female elephants often can’t find enough food to supply their calves with milk—even in a park that is the size of Yellowstone (3,100 square miles / 8,000 sq. km)—but the rains this year have brought so much vegetation there’s been no problem supporting the newborns—even twins—as they begin their journey through life.

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