Friday, 14 September 2012

Obesity and Captivity Go Hand in Hand

From the BBC, a story about obese elephants,
  • "...Almost all the elephants kept in temples in the state have been found to be obese.

    Accordingly, officials are temple officials are reconfiguring the diets of their temple elephants on the advice of veterinary surgeons."
And what do these reconfigured diets consist of?
  • Elephants eat up to 200 different varieties of food in the jungle, including fruits, flowers, roots and branches, but in captivity their diets often lack variety.

    The experts also point out that the elephants in the wilderness are never exposed to foods such as rice, millets, salt and jaggery (an unrefined sugar set into blocks).
A lack of exercise is also implicated:
  • "...temple officials say the elephants are taken for walks of at least 5km each day based on vet advice.

    But research has shown that in the wilderness an elephant has to walk at least 20 sq km to find its daily food intake of around 250kg of plant matter."
There was a similar story regarding gorillas some time ago.

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