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

Kentucky rolls Mountaineers in the Midwest Regional

Fresh
Kentucky's Marcus Lee, right, blocks a shot by West Virginia's Jonathan Holton during the first half of a college basketball game in the NCAA men's tournament regional semifinals, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Cleveland.

Top-seed Kentucky advances after defeating West Virginia 78-39 rout of West Virginia in the Midwest Regional.

in Entertainment

Kate Upton, Lea Michelle to play best pals in new comedy

Fresh
Kate Upton arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Kate Upton and Lea Michele have teamed up for a new William H. Macy comedy called "The Layover."

in National

New York buildings collapse in possible gas blast

Fresh
Firefighters battle a fire at the site of a residential apartment building collapse and fire in New York City's East Village neighborhood, March 26, 2015.

Four apartment buildings in New York City caught fire from an apparent gas explosion, causing 19 injuries.