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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 December, 2003, 13:54 GMT
France celebrates twin sea cows
Sea cow with two calves at Beauval Zoo
Quito and Luna were each a metre long at birth
A zoo in central France is very proud of its newest inhabitants.

One of its sea cows has given birth to twins - believed to be the first twin sea cows born in captivity.

"It's the first time in the world, they are twin sea cows and it is at Beauval Zoo," exclaims the zoo's web site.

The mother Daphne was watched round the clock at the zoo in the town of Saint-Aignan in the last days of her pregnancy but the birth of two sea calves came as a surprise to everyone.

"It was a shock to see one and then two calves appear behind Daphne," said the zoo's Director Rodolphe Delord.

The twins, Quito a boy and Luna a girl, weighed around 20 kilograms each and measured 1 metre in length.

Fully grown, the sea cows can measure up to 4.5 metres in length and weigh up to one tonne.

Endangered animals

Beauval Zoo is the only place in France which breeds the marine mammals - also know as manatees.

The two new arrivals take the number of sea cows at the zoo to six.

The zoo receives funding from the European Endangered Species Programme.

Sea cows are threatened with extinction due to pollution of the sea grass beds and shallow tropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific region that they inhabit.

They are also at risk of injury from leisure boats.




SEE ALSO:
Saving the sea cow
15 Jan 00  |  Americas


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