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 Entertainment

Tracy Morgan settles suit with Walmart over fatal crash

Fresh
tracymorgan

The "SNL" star sued the retail giant over a semi crash that killed one man and left Morgan and two friends seriously injured.

in Viral Videos

Baby goat doesn’t care about dog’s nap

Fresh
12-overlay3

Keep on keepin' on, goat. We like your style.

in Entertainment

LiLo is (finally) finishing her community service

lindsaylohan

The "Mean Girls" star had to log 125 hours before May 28 after a judge rejected her previous effort.

in Music

U2’s longtime road manager dead as band prepares for L.A. shows

U2

The tour manager worked with the band for more than three decades.

in Entertainment

Bob Barker is a boss at retirement

11-overlay6

The former "Price is Right" host and avid animal lover says he is a "complete success" at retirement, and is enjoying his free time.