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

1 hour ago in Entertainment

Depp back as Mad Hatter in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’

Fresh
22-overlay-3

The movie follows on from the 2010 box office hit "Alice in Wonderland," which starred Depp alongside Australian actress Mia Wasikowska as the titular heroine and Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.

1 hour ago in Lifestyle, National

Record number of Millennials are living with their parents

Fresh
23-overlay-9

Living at home with parents is now the most common arrangement for people age 18-34.

1 hour ago in Music

Jennifer Nettles speaks Spanish

Fresh
jennifernettles703060601531

Jennifer Nettles not only duets with Jennifer Lopez on the song "My House," but they can talk to each other in English or in Spanish.