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 Local Sports

O’s edge M’s in extra innings

Baltimore Orioles' Adam Jones gets ready to hit during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif.

Chris Davis hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning, Nelson Cruz also went deep and the Baltimore Orioles overcame a record-tying start by Felix Hernandez in a 2-1 victory Friday night over the Seattle Mariners.

in Local Sports

Bells edge Black Bears in 11 innings

bellingham bells pcl logo generic 3

Bellingham’s Chris Baker hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th to lead the Bells to a 3-2 victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears in West Coast League action Friday at Joe Martin Field.

in Local Sports

Bellingham 11U falls to Helena

Baseball bat and glove

The Bellingham 11-and-under baseball team fell 6-1 to Helena, Montana today at the Cal Ripken Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament in Meridian, Idaho.

in Local

Another Friday Afternoon Bellingham Bank Robbery

BtbTbx0CcAARVBJ

A Washington Federal on Lakeway Drive is robbed.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: Scarlett Johansson gets brainy in ‘Lucy’

Lucy

A ridiculous premise doesn't have to sink a film, and Luc Besson's "Lucy" actually gets off to a solid start.