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    Rare "miracle" elephant twins born in Thailand

    By Li Cohen,


    900-pound baby elephant plays in bubble bath 00:57

    Caretakers of 36-year-old elephant Chamchuri knew she was pregnant and were thrilled when she gave birth to a male calf. Then as they were cleaning up from the birth, they heard a loud thud – and were shocked to see she had given birth to another baby, a female.

    Chamchuri's second calf came 18 minutes after the first on June 7, the Associated Press reported, and when she arrived, it surprised even her mother. CBS News' partner BBC reported that the surprise second birth caused Chamchuri to panic and that she had to be restrained so she didn't step on the calf.

    One of the caretakers, 31-year-old Charin Somwang, was injured trying to control the large elephant. His leg was broken, but he said he "was so happy, I couldn't feel the pain." It wasn't until he was later at the hospital that he realized the extent of the injury.

    "It's normal that the new mother will always try to kick or push the baby," he said. "...I was afraid that she might break the baby elephant, so I put myself forward and tried to block the mother from the smaller one."

    Ian Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of Save the Elephants, has previously said that twins are "rarely encountered in elephant populations." Male-female twins are even rarer.
    Newborn elephant twins, a female (L) and a male (C), stand next to their mother Jamjuree at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal in Ayutthaya on June 10, 2024. MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images

    "[They] form around only 1% of births, " Douglas-Hamilton said. "Quite often the mothers don't have enough milk to support two calves."

    The male calf weighed in at about 132 pounds and his sister is slightly smaller, at 121 pounds, and they must use a stool to be able to reach her mother to feed, according to the BBC. The pair will be named after seven days, as is customary in Thailand.

    Staff at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal have been posting images and videos of the elphant family every day since the calves' birth.

    "Once we pulled the second baby elephant out, away from the mother, the baby stood up. We were all cheering because it's a miracle," veterinarian Lardthongtare Meepan told the BBC. "We've always wanted to see elephant twins but not everyone can see this because it doesn't happen a lot."

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