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)

Latest Headlines

in Music

Gene Simmons’ son following in dad’s rock footsteps

simmons

Nick Simmons, 25, is starting his own rock band.

in Sports

Thursday’s Sports Minute

angels

Here is a look at the sports headlines you'll be talking about today, Thursday, Sept. 18.

in Music

Chrissie Hynde calls today’s singers ‘porn stars’

hynde

The rocker says there's a difference between talent and "porn stars trying to make records."

in Sports

‘Second chance’ for Ray Rice not out of the question

rayrice

The star running back is hoping for the same type of second chance that other tarnished NFL stars like Michael Vick have received.

in Sports

Another day, another NFL player arrested

dwyer

Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on charges of aggravated assault in two alleged incidents of domestic violence.