Elephants at Houston zoo take daily yoga classes, do handstands to stay healthy
Houston Zoo’s elephants have been keeping up with one of the latest human crazes – yoga. As part of their daily health checks, all 12 pachyderms at the zoo participate in “elephant yoga” sessions. The yoga routine helps the 40-year-old, 6,500-pound elephant Tess, who can even do a handstand, become more flexible and is part of a daily regimen with the zookeepers. Each session lasts between about 30 seconds and five minutes, and some older elephants do two sessions a day to keep their joints loose. “As soon as the elephants are born, the training starts. First, trainers make sure that each elephant knows their names and gradually make them comfortable with trainers placing their hands on them,” said Kristen Windle, the Houston Zoo’s elephant manager. The yoga sessions are voluntary and each elephant is rewarded with a treat like fruit or bread for participating.
What is elephant yoga?
Elephant yoga is a daily routine for Houston Zoo’s 12 pachyderms where they participate in yoga to maintain their flexibility and health.
Is elephant yoga voluntary?
Yes, the yoga sessions are voluntary for the elephants. They are offered treats like fruit or bread for participating.
What other exercises do the elephants do during their routine health checks?
The elephants will lift their front and back feet, balance on two feet, and stretch out while laying on the ground. Most of the exercises mimic movements they would make in the wild.
How long does each session last?
Each session lasts between about 30 seconds and five minutes, and some older elephants do two sessions a day to keep their joints loose.
What is the purpose of the elephant’s yoga routine?
The purpose of the elephant’s yoga routine is to maintain their flexibility and health. Also, it provides important mental stimulation for the elephants who are known for their incredible intelligence.
What other types of training do the elephants receive?
The elephants receive early training to identify different parts of their body as trainers poke them all over with a tennis ball attached to a stick to learn different movements. Once they complete this early training, they will follow verbal commands from the keepers.
Do all zoos follow the same exercise regimen for elephants?
No, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums requires exercise regimen for all zoos with elephants, but each is different. Each elephant at the Houston Zoo has their own personalized routine.
Houston Zoo’s Elephants Maintain Healthy Bodies through Daily Yoga and Handstand Practices.
The Houston Zoo’s resident pachyderms have taken up the latest human craze, yoga as part of their daily routine health checks. The zoo’s 12 elephants participate in a yoga session called “elephant yoga.” Although voluntary, each participant receives a treat such as bread or fruit for their involvement. The sessions aim to keep the elephants limber and their joints loose. The training begins at birth, rewarding good behavior and gradually acquainting the elephants with their trainers. These early exercises mimic natural movements in the wild to meet the elephants’ physical and mental stimulation needs. Each elephant has a personalized exercise regimen designed to ensure optimal fitness. The oldest elephant, a 54-year-old with arthritis, moves slowly. The association of Zoos and Aquariums requires exercise regimens for all elephants in zoos, personalized for each elephant’s needs. The Houston elephants’ exercises include lifting their front and back feet, balancing on two feet and stretching while lying on the ground. These movements imitate the elephants’ natural behaviors in the wild. Each session lasts between 30 seconds to five minutes, and some older elephants do two sessions a day to keep their joints loose while and the trainers can monitor their body movements.