News

Zoo puts pregnant pachyderm on jumbo diet

Zoo puts pregnant pachyderm on jumbo diet

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM:At about 7,700 pounds, Tess is roughly 6 percent overweight. The elephant's weight is already at the amount it should be at the end of a healthy pregnancy - and if Tess gets any larger, she may have trouble giving birth, zoo officials said.

By Amanda Orr

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Zookeepers in Houston have placed a pregnant Asian elephant named Tess on a weight loss and exercise regimen, trying to help the pudgy pachyderm cut 500 pounds in time for delivery of the baby in about a year.

“Part of the reason we’re doing it now is to get ahead of the game. When she gets closer to delivery she’ll move less and be less active,” said Daryl Hoffman, curator of large mammals at the Houston Zoo.

At about 7,700 pounds, Tess is roughly 6 percent overweight. The elephant’s weight is already at the amount it should be at the end of a healthy pregnancy – and if Tess gets any larger, she may have trouble giving birth, zoo officials said.

Along with a lower-calorie diet, Tess is going for a brisk two-mile walk inside her habitat each morning before visitors arrive. She also does leg exercises to improve muscle tone that zoo staff refer to as “elephant yoga.”

Zookeepers said her planned weight cut would be like a 200-pound person dropping 12 pounds (5.4 kg). Asian elephants can weigh up to 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg), according to data provided by various zoos.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Will Dunham)

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos

If Michael Bay directed ‘Up’

13-overlay5

Cue the Linkin Park, Carl's journey to Paradise Falls just got more intense.

in Sports

More schools are mixing beer, football at stadiums

SMU

A growing number of schools are bringing the party inside, opening taps in concourses that traditionally have been alcohol-free zones.

in Sports

Mo’ne Davis, team out of Little League World Series

littleleague

Star pitcher Mo'ne Davis and her team are out of the running.

in Sports

Friday’s Sports Minute

nationals

Here is a look at the sports news making headlines today, Friday, Aug. 22.

in Sports

U.S. keeper Howard to take year off from international duty

howard

U.S national team goalkeeper Tim Howard says he will take a year off from international duty in order to spend more time with his family.