|Day-old twin elephants huddle under their mother Alka at the Orang. .thehindu.com|
Just like twins in humans, animals do have twins and in the case of elephants, the largest terrestrial mammals, such a phenomenon will cause excitement and curiosity. The reasons are:
01. Twins are extremely rare with respect to captive, domesticated jumbos.
02. The incidence of survival rate of elephant twins after birth is yet another factor and it requires extreme care.
03. As for the mother elephant, she has to keep the large twin fetuses healthy during pregnancy and it means has to get extra nutritious food.
|Twins Vijay and Sujay. S. India www.thehindu.com|
It was in the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, India the birth of twins was reported. The pregnancy period of these animals is one of the longest of all mammals which is 22 months. The females give birth to one calf in a period of 2 – 4 years. The normal weight of young elephants at birth is about 91 kg (200 pounds). Imagine how much weight the mother elephant has to carry in case she has twins.
The famous elephant twins are Sujay and Vijay who were born on May 20 1971 to an elephant named Devaki in the Muthumalai sanctuary in Muthumalai. They were born three hours apart.
Though three sets of twin elephant births had been recorded in Tamil Nadu state since 1960 only but Sujay and Vijay survived and are known to be living together. the managed to reach the middle age and were star attraction in this famous sanctuary. An interesting aspect is both the twins had spent most of the day together - bathing, eating and playing. Vijay had no liking for coconuts, it was not true of Sujay. The reserve has about 23 jumbos the twins are among them.
The twins being not identical, have similar appearance, but have quite different personalities according to the resident Vet there. As common among the human twins, these young male jumbos share the same special bond, but have different character and temperament. Both being dominant males, during mating season their behavior is unusual, Vijay allows only Sujay (the other twin) to come near him and not others, thus exhibiting his brotherly bond. Now they are well trained Kunki - a local term used for elephants taught to scare away wild animals when they stumbled upon the human settlement.
The National Park - The Rajiv Gandhi National Park, located in Orang on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra and around 150 km west of the capital city of the state Assam, NE India is famous for rich flora and fauna. The main attractions here are the great Indian one-Horned Rhinoceros, Pigmy hog, Elephants, Wild buffalo and Tigers.
Here the famous elephant is Alka, a female jumbo that ferries lots of tourists every day in this wild sanctuary. She became the center of a sensational news item when she gave birth to twins on 15th December 2010. The twin elephant calves, both female, were born in the early morning after intense labor and the Mahout Trailokya Bishya immediately prepared a fire place and spent sleepless night to protect the young calves from the ferocious tigers. The 80-sq. km. park has an estimated 16 Royal Bengal Tigers and might pose threat to the twins. The twins were cozy and comfortable, enjoying the warmth of their mother and the caring mahout.
01. The Bihari Elephant Ezhuthachan Sivasankar is considered to be the tallest elephant in Asia.
02. Elephant Thechikkottukara Ramachandran, earned a lot. He was paid Rs. 2.27 lakhs per day for the temple festival at Nenmara - Vallangi Vela.
03. The most expensive elephant was Babloo, of a Sangli temple, which, Sreekumar, an elephant expert says, belongs to the Rajashree family of `Maine Pyar Kiya'(Bollywood movie) fame .
04. Look at Adiyathu Ayyappan who enjoys all the trappings. He has a big list of fans, luxury of a shower bath, sacks full of fresh grapes to eat and the best sugar cane in the area. What else a jumbo can ask for? There are jumbos slogging in the timber yard, There are also lucky ones like Ayyappan.
05. One Murivalan Mukundan, a recalcitrant jumbo was chained for 12 consecutive years; he was not submissive, kept his head way up, refused to be trained.
Ways to judge a jumbo's mood:
Flapping ears: he is in jolly good mood; Ears staying static: watch out, he may not be happy; Tail goes up: beware, he is positively angry. According to one Sreekumar who has done considerable research on elephants behavior you should not bend before the jumbo, he will mistake this pose as a threat to him.