A female elephant named Alka at the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park here, about 150 km from Guwahati, scripted history by giving birth to twin calves, a rare occurrence, on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the twin elephant calves, both of them female, were seen enjoying the warmth of their mother as Alka's mahout Trailokya Bishya, who passed a sleepless night to protect the twins from the tigers, watched over them.

“I was on ambush duty in a camp a little away. Around 3 a.m. I heard Alka yelling in labour pain. At crack of dawn, when I reached her I was overjoyed to see that she had already given birth,” Mr. Baishya told The Hindu. He lit a fire, preparing to guard the mother and the twins.

The five-year-old sister of the twins was unwilling to leave the newborns. However, she was driven away lest she injure them. She would be allowed to stay near her sisters after dusk to protect them from tigers.

Mr. Baishya said tigers came on Wednesday night, but could not come close.

Divisional Forest Officer Sushil Kumar Daila, who arrived at the scene with ranger Salim Ahmed to inspect if proper care was being taken of the newborns, instructed the mahout to ensure that there was no fodder shortage and every instruction of the veterinarian was strictly followed.

The DFO also instructed Mr. Baishya to be vigilant against possible tiger attacks. The 80-sq. km. park has an estimated 16 Royal Bengal Tigers.

“We have engaged two persons for round-the-clock care of the mother and twins,” Mr. Daila said.

Fifth delivery

It is Alka's fifth delivery. An elephant expert from Guwahati, Kushal Konwar Sarma, will visit the park on Friday to monitor the health of the twins, the DFO said.

With the birth of the twins, the number of elephants in the park has increased to 28.