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, Lifestyle

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: 26 freebies to help you celebrate

birthday

On your birthday you can have your (free) cake and eat it too!

in Music

This week’s top country tracks

jasonaldean

LISTEN: This week's top country tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Viral Videos

WATCH: Chris Farley in ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’

13-overlay19

This mashup is both hilarious and impressive.

in Entertainment

Facebook has an heiress

facebook

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are expecting their first child.

in Entertainment

TV: What’s new on Netflix, Amazon & Hulu

netflix

August is shaping up to be a good month for streaming some hit movies and the TV series you've been meaning to check out.