Sri Lanka reports rare birth of twin elephants

These photos from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka taken yesterday show the 25-year-old Surangi elephant with her twins born yesterday almost five hours apart, making the type’s first birth at the facility created in 1975 to care for destitute elephants in Pinnawala. . — AFP Photos

Sri The main elephant orphanage in Lanka yesterday recorded a rare birth of twins as a 25-year-old named Surangi gave birth to healthy male calves. They are the first elephant twins born in captivity in Sri Lanka since 1941, according to elephant expert Jayantha Jayewardene. “The calves and the mother are doing well,” Renuka Bandaranaike, head of the Pinnawala elephant orphanage, told AFP. “The babies are relatively small, but they are healthy. “

She said Surangi gave birth to a bull calf in 2009 and this was her second time. The father, Pandu, 17, is also one of the 81 residents of the orphanage, which was established in 1975 to care for destitute wild elephants. The facility, a key tourist attraction, has been closed to visitors due to coronavirus restrictions.

Last year, wildlife officials said the first known twins born in the wild in Sri Lanka were spotted in Minneriya Sanctuary in the east of the island. The government has unveiled strict regulations to protect animals that are considered sacred in the predominantly Buddhist nation. Many wealthy Sri Lankans, including Buddhist monks, keep elephants as pets to show off their wealth, but reports of abuse are widespread.

Those who violate the new law will have their elephant in state care and could face a three-year prison sentence. Official records show that there are around 200 domesticated elephants in Sri Lanka and around 7,500 in the wild. Capturing wild elephants is a criminal offense punishable by death, but prosecution is rare. Activists say more than 40 baby elephants have been stolen from animal parks in the past 15 years. – AFP

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