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 Sports

This week’s top sports shots

Fresh
AP128102560467

A look at some of the biggest plays and best wins that happened this week in sports.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

Fresh
fsu

A complete look at this weekend's sports schedule.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Kids react to a realistic Barbie doll

Fresh
19-overlay3

The Lammily doll wants to show children that average is beautiful.

in Viral Videos

Watch this giant panda have a ball playing in snow

21-overlay3

This panda is pumped to see the first snowfall of the season.