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

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 21

Fresh
elton-john

A look back at the Hollywood headlines that made history.

in Sports

Steelers rally past stunned Texans 30-23

Fresh
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers plays during an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Pittsburgh needed just over a minute to turn a 10-point deficit into an 11-point lead

in Viral Videos

B1G mascots ‘Shake It Off’ parody

12-overlay3

Big Ten mascots show off their dance moves to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."

in Sports

US tops Haiti to advance in World Cup qualifying

United States goalkeeper Hope Solo (1) signs autographs following the team's international friendly soccer match against Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Sandy, Utah. The United States won 8-0.

The U.S. women's soccer team completed Part I of its trip to the 2015 World Cup by doing the expected, dominating play in a win over Haiti to finish unbeaten in group play in the CONCACAF championship.

in Sports

Florida AD: season evaluated as it plays out

Florida head coach Will Muschamp paces the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Missouri won 42-13.

The Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) are coming off losses to LSU and Missouri. The 42-13 debacle against Mizzou on Saturday night, was one of the most embarrassing losses in Muschamp's three-plus years in Gainesville.

Bellingham Traffic