The Singapore Zoo is happy to announce the latest addition to its manatee family.
Eva, a 20-year-old Caribbean manatee who already has seven offspring and two grand-manatees, gave birth to male twins.
Unfortunately, only one of the twins survived; the other died soon after birth and was found to have a heart defect. According to the Singapore Zoo, twin births are extremely rare for manatees, which are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species kept by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Female manatees reach sexual maturity as young as three years, and give birth to a single calf every two years, after a gestation of 12 months. It takes a further 12 to 18 months to wean the calf.
Born Feb. 13, the surviving twin has been named Valentine.
“This birth represents another feather in our conservation cap and is the result of the hard work of our keepers and vets, who ensure the highest standard of husbandry and care for all our animals. Although we mourn the loss of his twin, we hope this young one will play an important role in the global captive breeding program for manatees in years to come,” said Alagappasamy Chellaiyah, Assistant Director, Zoology, Singapore Zoo.
TODAY.com multimedia producer Mish Whalen would love to travel to Singapore to rub noses with Valentine.