Junk in the trunk? St. Louis Zoo elephants on successful weight loss program

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Junk in the trunk? The elephants at the St. Louis Zoo are undergoing a weight loss program. Ron Mott, a reporter from the Today Show, says that the Zoo is closely monitoring the pachyderm’s girth.

Nearly 75 percent of elephants are overweight according to a study of Zoo animals from 2011. Raja, the St. Louis Zoo’s famous 26-year-old elephant, is one of the overweight elephants. He weighs anywhere from 9,500 lbs to 10,500 lbs. The Zoo says that although he is a large elephant, he is in good condition.

Today reports that the St. Louis Zoo came up with a recipe to keep the pound off. They’re using feeders that force the animals to work for food. They’re also eating smaller, more frequent meals, and switching up the locations of some snacks.

The goal is to keep active. The elephants appear to enjoy exercise with the reward of a treat.

The changes put in place for the Zoo’s Asian elephants appear to be working. They have minimized weight-related problems like joint and foot issues.

The St. Louis Zoo posted a picture to Twitter of the news crew at the Zoo. They tweet that the nationally televised news program, spotlights, “the wonderful care our highly trained elephant care professionals provide for the Asian elephants at the Zoo and the steps the Zoo has taken to get our elephants fit.”

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