A seriously cute and rare set of elephant twins have been melting hearts at a game reserve in South Africa.
The African elephant twins were born at the Pongola Game Reserve, a privately-owned big-four game reserve in Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The game reserve announced the news on its Facebook page and posted an adorable video:
Scientific evidence suggests that there is less than one percent prevalence rate of elephants twinning and even less of a chance that both twins survive into adulthood, making the birth of these young elephant twins an incredibly rare natural occurrence.
Elephant specialist, Dr. Ian Whyte, the retired Projects Manager: Large Herbivores: Dept. of Scientific Services at the National Parks Board, Kruger National Park, said: "Though a few cases of twinning have been reported in the Kruger National Park, an examination of the reproductive tracts of over 1200 adult cows culled in the Kruger National Park during population control operations did not yield a single case of twins."
The as-yet-unnamed twins were born to a 31-year-old elephant cow called Curve, so named for the curve of one of her tusks. She birthed three offspring before delivering the twins, all of which were male.
Paternity of the twins points to Ingani, a 44-year-old elephant bull that deceased slightly more than a year ago. The sex of the twins remains unconfirmed as Curve is given enough space and a fighting chance to beat the mortality odds for the twins.
Dr Ian Whyte explained: "This is the best approach. Mortality of one of the twins usually occurs as the increasing demand for milk by two calves cannot be met by the mother and the less dominant of the two calves usually cannot gain access to its share.
"One rather famous Matriarch in Kruger dubbed MaMerle produced a set of twins in 2002, both of which survived to post weaning age, and she then produced a second set in 2006, both of which had survived to more than a year old when she was last seen. Curve needs a stress free environment to beat the odds."
Pongola Game Reserve is home to two-fully catered lodges namely Mvubu River Lodge and Nkwazi Lake Lodge as well as a further five separate self-catering camps.
The Pongola River meanders through the reserve and is a sought after Tiger fishing destination. Pongola Game Reserve offers a variety of activities such as rhino tracking, game drives, boat cruises, guided walks and fishing excursions, and also boasts a health spa.
Visit www.pongolagamereserve.co.za for more information.
More pictures of cute baby elephants? Go on, then:
Adorable baby elephant charges tourists - then runs back to mum
Baby elephant rescued in Nairobi