Dieting Elephants Lose 11K Pounds

Friday, Jan 2, 2009  |  Updated 5:06 AM PDT
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Dieting Elephants Lose 11K Pounds

Seven elephants at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park have lost a combined total of 11,314 pounds ever since zookeepers enforced a nutrition and exercise regiment for them in 2000.

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They could be the next stars of "The Biggest Loser."

Seven elephants at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park have lost a combined total of 11,314 pounds ever since zookeepers enforced a nutrition and exercise regiment for them in 2000.

The rotund captive elephants that zoo visitors are familiar with are mostly overweight compared to those in the wild.

To get the elephants back in shape, zookeepers introduced a diet high in hay and stopped feeding them treats such as bread, corn and jelly beans.

Instead of three big meals per day, they get several small meals. Zookeepers also scatter the food around the yard so the elephants have to work to find it.

At the San Diego Zoo, keepers also trained the elephants to walk laps around their enclosure. Elephants at the Wild Animal Park are also encouraged to walk across their 3-acre enclosure. Workers rake the packed soil to simulate jogging on soft sand.

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