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 Viral Videos

What it would sound like if Ice T voiced cartoons

14-overlay5

"Scooby Doo" and "Dora the Explorer" would sound a whole lot different.

in Viral Videos

2-year-old sings National Anthem, makes America better

12-overlay7

Adorable Trent Harris singing the "Star Spangled Banner" before the start of a high school basketball game will make you proud to be an American.

in Music, Viral Videos

WATCH: Spirited seniors turn ‘Uptown Funk’ into ‘Oldtown’ jam

24-overlay2

Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson better watch out ... Alex Boye and these retirees are giving them a run for their money.

in Sports

Ex-Louisville guard Jones pleads not guilty to rape

chrisjoneslouisville

The Memphis native was dismissed from the team Sunday.

in Sports

Witness: Aaron Hernandez smoked pot hours before the killing

hernandez

Hernandez is charged with the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.