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An Elephant Mother’s Brave Effort to Protect Her Twin Babies

Elephant twins surrounded by a pride of lions
Latest Sightings - YouTube

In the early hours of a safari in Chobe National Park, a 63-year-old tour guide Desmond Clack captured a heart-wrenching scene. Desmond and his group arrived at a remote watering hole at dawn. They first saw a pride of lions eating a young buffalo. But soon, something more extraordinary happened. A mother elephant, with her twin calves, came to the water. It’s very rare to see an elephant with twins. The mother, needing water for herself and her babies, approached the waterhole, unaware of the danger nearby.

Latest Sightings – YouTube

Lions Shift Their Focus

Having just eaten, the lions turned their attention to the elephant family. The mother elephant, realizing the threat, tried to protect her calves. She charged at the lions several times, trying to scare them away, but was unsuccessful. Her calves stayed close by her side but separated in a fleeting moment of vulnerability. Then, the less calf stumbled, becoming an easy target for the pouncing lion.

Maternal Instincts Put to the Test

Faced with an agonizing decision, the mother elephant struggled to save both calves. Despite her efforts, she could only shield the second calf while the lions overpowered the first. Although not shown in the video, the mother and one calf managed to break free from the lion pride, but at the cost of leaving one behind. The emotional weight of the moment was too much for Desmond, prompting him to put down his camera. This event shows the harsh reality of life in the wild. It was the first for Desmond to see an elephant with twins.

The Rarity of Elephant Twins

Elephant twins are extremely rare, representing only about 1% of all births. The survival of elephant twins in the wild is fraught with challenges. This highlights the importance of maternal care and environmental conditions for the survival of newborn elephants.

Elephant twins surrounded by a pride of lions
Latest Sightings – YouTube

The Depth of Elephant Emotions

In the animal kingdom, elephants are often regarded as some of the most protective and nurturing mothers. Herds comprising females and their offspring typically travel together, forming a protective circle with the youngest and most vulnerable members at the center. This formation is a testament to their strong maternal instinct and communal care. In the event of an orphaned calf, the herd collectively adopts and cares for the young one, demonstrating a profound sense of empathy and responsibility.

Elephants also exhibit a unique and deeply emotional response to their own loss. When an elephant calf dies, the mother and the herd display behaviors akin to mourning. The mother often shows signs of depression, while the herd participates in a form of burial ritual, gathering leaves and twigs to cover the deceased. This mourning can last for days, and elephants have been known to revisit the site of a herd member’s death years later, indicating a long-lasting emotional connection to their lost loved ones.

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