The as-yet-unnamed pair were born at Samburu National Reserve this week, becoming only the second pair of twin calves ever seen by local charity Save the Elephants.
“Twins only make up about 1% of births. Quite often the mothers don’t have enough milk to feed two calves,” the charity’s founder, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, said on Thursday.
The last time Save the Elephants saw twin elephants was in 2006.
“Unfortunately, both calves died shortly after birth,” Douglas-Hamilton said. “The next few days will be up and down for the new twins, but we’re all crossing our fingers for their survival.”
At about 22 months, the African elephant has the longest gestation period of any living mammal, giving birth to a cub about every four years.
Elephants in Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries are becoming increasingly prey to poachers, who kill them to meet Asian demand for ivory for use in folk medicine.
However, Kenya’s tourism ministry said in 2020 that the number of elephants in the country more than doubled from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,000 in 2018 thanks to increased anti-poaching efforts.