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India corona update 
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Today's Fatalities 477
Today's Cases 9,765

News

Sri Lanka reports rare birth of elephant twins

Representational photo (AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

SRI LANKA’S main elephant orphanage recorded a rare twin birth on Tuesday (31) as a 25-year-old named Surangi delivered healthy male calves.

They are the first elephant twins born in captivity in Sri Lanka since 1941, according to elephant expert Jayantha Jayewardene.

“Both the calves and the mother are doing fine,” Renuka Bandaranaike, head of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, said.

“The babies are relatively small, but they are healthy.”

She said Surangi gave birth to a male calf in 2009 and this was her second. The father, 17-year-old Pandu, is also one of the 81 residents at the orphanage, which was set up in 1975 to care for destitute wild elephants.

The facility, a key tourist attraction, has been closed to visitors because of coronavirus restrictions.

Last year, wildlife officials said the first known twins born in the wild in Sri Lanka had been spotted at the Minneriya sanctuary in the east of the island.

The government has unveiled tough regulations to protect the animals which are considered sacred in the majority Buddhist nation.

Many rich Sri Lankans – including Buddhist monks – keep elephants as pets.

Those who violate the new law will have their elephants taken into state care and could face a three-year prison sentence.

Official records show there are about 200 domesticated elephants in Sri Lanka and an estimated 7,500 in the wild.

Capturing wild elephants is a criminal offence punishable by death, but prosecutions are rare.

Activists say that more than 40 baby elephants have been stolen from wildlife parks in the past 15 years.

Eastern Eye

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