I wish this were a joke, but sadly, hand-wringing about elephants’ weight is a real thing:
According to Morfield, who works as an animal endocrinologist at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Research Center, many captive elephants in the U.S. aren’t just naturally big, they’re in fact suffering from obesity. And like the threats associated with being dangerously overweight in humans, zoo elephants too suffer from cardiac disease, arthritis, and infertility because of it.
Or, you know, like in humans, correlation =/ causation. And healthy behaviors =/ weight loss.
If it weren’t so depressing, it would be kind of hilarious how this researcher measures elephants’ size:
As you might imagine, determining the body fat of an elephant is no easy task. But Morfield says she’s found a way that doesn’t require an extra-long waist tape measure. As it turns out, fatter elephants wear excess weight mostly in their hindquarters. So, after scouring over hundreds of photos of elephant butts, both in the wild and in captivity, Morfield created a scale (from 1 to 5) to describe the normalcy of their body mass.
Yes. There are people who get paid to look at pictures of elephant butts all day.
So when can I start getting paid to look at pictures of adorable baby animals?