HOUSTON -- “It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of our Asian elephants, Tess, miscarried two fetuses overnight,” the Houston Zoo announced via a press release on Tuesday.
According to the zoo, Tess was halfway through her gestation and regular monitoring indicated her pregnancy was developing normally, but the miscarriage revealed she was carrying two calves.
Zoo officials said twin pregnancies in Asian elephants are extremely rare, and the survival rate of the calves is exceedingly unlikely.
Asian elephants can typically only carry and deliver one calf at a time, the zoo said.
“Twins increase the chance of fetal loss in all species, including Asian elephants,” said Dr. Dennis Schmitt, DVM, PhD. “In Asian elephants, twins may share a common blood source which can compromise the health of the calves. Twins can also present complications in delivery and compromise the health of the mother."
Tess is now being watched closely by the Zoo’s veterinarians.