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, Sports, Viral Videos

WATCH: Leaked Super Bowl commercials

Fresh
25-overlay7

A 30-second commercial on Super Sunday will cost $4.5 million, but will it be money well spent?

in Sports

Tavares scores 4 as Team Toews wins NHL All-Star game.

Fresh
nhlallstar

John Tavares tied an NHL All-Star Game record in a 17-12 triumph over Team Foligno on Sunday.

in Sports

PHOTOS: 2015 NFL Pro Bowl

Fresh
probowl

Football's biggest stars took the field for the annual Pro Bowl matchup on Sunday.

in Sports

Ryan gamble pays off as Team Irvin wins Pro Bowl

Fresh
mattryan

Matt Ryan threw the winning score on a fourth down to give Team Irvin a dramatic 32-28 victory over Team Carter.

in Sports

Hall of Famer Ernie ‘Mr. Cub’ Banks dead at 83

Fresh
banks

The pioneering and famously affable slugger was hailed by the team for which he played 19 seasons as "the greatest Cub in franchise history."