Wolf Song of Alaska News

It's Not from Exercise, But Maggie Still Loses Weight; Should We Worry?

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / January 15, 2007

I was alarmed to read in the Daily News that Maggie's weight is currently 7,500 pounds ("Maggie and the treadmill," Jan. 2). She's not been exercising on the treadmill.

In August 2004, the zoo stated they were worried about their overweight 9,100-pound pachyderm and the solution was a treadmill. The idea stemmed in part from the recommendation of zoo consultants who stated that in order to keep Maggie in Alaska, she needed more exercise.

During the lengthy construction work (summer of 2005) to Maggie's elephant exhibit and installation of the treadmill, I read that her part-time trainer, Rob Smith, said, "Maggie has recently lost about 1,000 pounds, mostly because of stress," and she then weighed about 8,000 pounds. The zoo later stated Maggie's weight loss was due in part to dieting.

Since then, Maggie has lost an additional 500 pounds. Could the additional weight loss be due to the stress of coaxing her onto a treadmill, an alien contraption that has nothing to do with being an elephant? How is the zoo monitoring her stress level? I'm concerned for Maggie's safety and well-being. A weight drop this massive should put up red flags. Will our Maggie be stressed to death?

-- Elaine V. Robinson / Anchorage

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