Indy Zoo: Nutrition Technician
San Francisco Zoo seeks Dietician in the Nutrition Center
Denver Zoo: Nutritionist Job Opportunity
Fecal Condition Scoring Resource Center
Guidelines for the Humane and Ethical Acquisition and Management of Vertebrate Feeder Animals (Excluding Fish)
Body Condition Scoring Resource Center
Zoo Nutrition Myth: A fruit is a fruit

Effect of diet on body composition and growth parameters in juvenile seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) at the Toronto Zoo

To date, all information on the feeding of seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) is contained in fish hobbyist magazines emphasizing acceptance of feed rather than its nutritive value. The juvenile stage is most critical in seahorse development and the most problematic in terms of feeding. This study compared the effects of two typical diets, Neomysis integer and Mysis relicta, on the body...

Intake study of the lesser green broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A nine-day intake study was carried out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s (DAK) Avian Research Center on an adult pair (1.1) of the frugivorous lesser green broadbills (LGB). The pellet/produce/invertebrate diet was fed twice daily. Two collections were carried out; one with food items presented separated, and a second with all ingredients combined as prepared by keepers. The birds displayed a...

Fish Composition: Effects of fish preparation and analytical methods

It is important to determine the nutrient content of fish fed to piscivorous species to ensure the animals are receiving an appropriate diet. The results of chemical analyses for nutrients can be affected by various factors including collection of a representative sample, sample preparation methodology, and laboratory and instrument variation. The objective of this project was to determine the effects...

Removing milk from captive gorilla diets: the impact on regurgitation and reingestion (R/R) and other behaviors

To test whether milk consumption facilitates performance of regurgitation and reingestion (R/R) in captive gorillas, an experiment was conducted in which milk was removed from the gorilla diet at Zoo Atlanta. The study was conducted using a withdrawal design (BTB), in which a baseline period (B) of 10 days was followed by a treatment period (T) of 10 days, followed...

Evaluation of type I and II collagen biomarkers for the detection of joint pathology in elephants

The first objective of this trial was to evaluate whether biomarkers for type I and type II collagen were detectable in elephant serum samples. Two commercially available enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent (ELISA) assays for the detection of the crosslinking telopeptides of type I collagen (CTX-I) and type II collagen (CTX-II) were validated for use with elephant sera. The second objective was to...

So you want to be a zoo animal nutritionist

Well, “comparative nutrition” is the name of the game since it is estimated that the zoos of the world house over 3,000 different species [Wilson, 1992]. These include animals as different as snakes and elephants. Your challenge is to devise diets that ensure the proper nourishment of every animal. There is nothing more basic to animal health and welfare.

Nutrition and immunity: vitamins and minerals

Infectious diseases impinge on animal health and welfare. Appropriate nutrition may aid in minimizing the incidence of infectious diseases by optimizing immunity. Formulating diets that optimize immunity requires knowing the specific cellular mechanisms by which nutrients affect immunity, and how these mechanisms pertain to specific nutrients and pathogens. Understanding the nuances of nutrition and immunity is important because higher dietary...

Skepticism and Science: Responsibilities of the Comparative Nutritionist

Comparative nutritionists are asked to formulate diets for over 3,000 species of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Little research has been conducted to provide an information base for this task, and both popular and scientific publications contain factual errors and irrational concepts that confuse the user. When data are suspect and theories don’t make sense, they...

Carp cakes: another fish alternative

Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) are invasive species that pose a threat of displacing and lowering the abundance of native fishes, mussels and invertebrates. The Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA) considers bighead and silver carp the most important aquatic nuisance species in the basin. On the Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois rivers, bighead and silver carp...

Determination of tannin levels in various plants and their possible effect on iron chelation in lemurs

Lemurs are one of several species that can suffer from excess iron accumulation in tissues, termed hemosiderosis. The more severe form, hemochromatosis, develops when hemosiderosis is accompanied by functional or morphologic evidence of iron toxicity and may result in clinical disease and death. Organs most often affected include the liver, heart, spleen, and gastrointestinal tract. The pathology of this problem/disease...

Dietary Protein Effect on Parakeet Reproduction, Growth, and Plasma Uric Acid

The effect of dietary protein level on reproductive performance, chick growth, and plasma uric acid in parakeets was studied. The treatments consisted of three isocaloric diets (3200 kcal of metabolizable energy per kilogram) containing 13.5%, 18.2%, and 25% protein (analyzed) and a vitamin and mineral supplemented commercially available seed diet (13.4% protein, analyzed). One hundred five pairs were assigned to...

Nutrient composition of selected plant species consumed by semi free-ranging lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus) and ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, U.S.A.

Feeding behavior in two groups of semi free-ranging primates, lion tailed macaques (LTM) (Macaca silenus, n = 9) and ring-tailed lemurs (RTL) (Lemur catta, n = 13), residing on St. Catherines Island, GA, was observed seasonally at quarterly intervals for 1 year. Each group had unlimited access to native flora and fauna in addition to a daily provisioned diet; LTM...

Comparison of parathyroid hormone, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in serum and urine of nyala (Tragelaphus angassi) on concentrates or a forage only diet

The nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) herd at Busch Gardens Tampa has historically had one of the highest incidences of Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, Mptb) within the collection. A 10-yr epidemiologic review at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay revealed 27/83 (32.5%) Mptb culture positive individuals. At the time of this trial, 20/21 positive animals were also noted to be hypocalcemia. It was...

Evaluating a field nitrate test for sudangrass hay to prevent nitrate poisoning

The objective of this study was to compare a field nitrate test using two different test strips to the hay nitrate concentrations determined at a commercial laboratory. Twelve samples of sudangrass hay collected in 2006 through 2008 were used to compare the nitrate concentration determined at a commercial laboratory using the RQflex Reflectometer method to those determined by a field...

Purchasing forage for a diverse group of exotic animals beyond the nutrient analysis

The approach of this paper is from a forage utilization perspective as it pertains to providing forage for the diverse, and often non-food related, purposes of a zoological institution. The paper covers aspects of forage production often over-looked or poorly understood by zoo professionals yet vital to the health and wellbeing of our captive collections. The purpose of the paper...

Milk composition of the white rhinoceros (Cerathotherium simum) through the first year of lactation

Lactation is a fundamental adaptation of mammals with milk being the first food for all mammals and the diversity of mammals is reflected in the diversity of lactation strategies and in the composition of milks from different species (Hayssen 1992). Although all milks have the same basic nutrients in common, the proportion of fat, sugar, protein and minerals varies widely...

Analysis of fish offered to bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus truncatus) over a 5 year period : fluctuations and lessons in quality control

Dolphins held under human care often pose a challenge in terms of weight and subsequent health maintenance. While a lack of exercise may contribute to this situation, proper body weight can be controlled by taking regular weights and monitoring both feed and associated caloric intake by weight. At The Seas at Epcot, the diet of the four male dolphins housed...

Effect of additives on ensiling of willow leaves and twigs

According to Hoffman, ruminants can be classified as browsers (“concentrate selectors”), intermediate feeders, and grazers. Compared to grazers, browsers have different nutritional requirements to meet their specific digestive physiology needs. In general, browse may contain higher amounts of secondary plant compounds and lower fiber concentrations than many grasses. In Rotterdam Zoo, browse often consists of willow leaves and branches. However,...

Aquatic animal supplementation practices – survey results and recommendations

Aquatic animals have been maintained under human care for centuries. Limitations in the variety of foods available to feed to these animals as well as the use of frozen/thawed diets make supplementation of some nutrients necessary. Limited research has been done on what vitamins or minerals are necessary and in what amounts. There are no standardized requirements or recommended daily...

Commercial aquatic diets and water quality

Water quality is an important limitation of diet choice and feed amounts in ornamental aquaria. Advanced life support system technology (a.k.a. water treatment) allow aquaria to maintain proper water quality; however, addition of diet items to the water is regarded as a key component impacting water quality maintenance via the load presented to life support systems. Herein, we evaluated nutrient...

Dietary husbandry of captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Northern USA and Canada must consider effects of daylength, age, and gender on tissue energy reserves

The effects of age, season, and gender on live body weights, lipogenesis and lipolysis in subcutaneous and perirenal adipose tissues, and weight and fat (ether extract) concentrations of skeletal muscles and viscera were studied in 48 captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fed a complete diet ad libitum. Food intake, rates of lipogenesis, and accumulation of fat in skeletal muscle and...

MODELING INDIVIDUAL ENERGY STATUS FOR IMPROVED ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

Energy use may represent the most direct gauge of physiological activity and thus relative nutrient requirements, however nutrient requirements are generally reported relative to intake or bodyweight, assumptions which make it difficult to confidently estimate nutrient targets for individuals and species. Managing energy balance in captive exotic animals is even more challenging due to the limitations of their environment including...

A comparison of dietary intake in captive, Jamaican Iguanas (Cyclura collei) at four United States zoos

The dietary intake of captive, Jamaican iguanas (Cyclura collei) was measured at four institutions including four U.S. zoos, Indianapolis Zoo (n = 1, 1.2 iguanas), Fort Worth Zoo (n = 2, 2.2 iguanas), Sedgwick County Zoo (n = 3, 1.2 iguanas), and San Diego Zoo – CRES (n = 3, 3.3 iguanas). The diets offered at all four zoos consisted...

Exhibiting animals in large naturalistic exhibit: without prey or predator

Modern zoos are increasingly inclined to exhibit animals in more naturalistic surroundings, often in large mixed species exhibits, and the Biodôme de Montréal is no exception. The Biodôme is subdivided into four sections representing specific ecosystems. The First ecosystem, the tropical rainforest, represents Amazonia and all species of trees and animals are from South America. The Laurentian forest, the St....

Which way forward for European zoo nutrition?

There are approximately 1000 zoos in Europe ranging from large, extensive zoos to smaller private collections. Of these, 256 are members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquarium (EAZA). EAZA is involved in all aspects of maintaining animals in captivity in zoos and aquarium, including the conservation of threatened species. Just as AZA has established Species Survival Plan (SSP)...

Serum survey of Vitamins A and E in Sharks

Although sharks are known to have unique aspects of lipid metabolism, fat-soluble vitamin concentrations have not been widely reported in the literature. Serum or plasma samples were obtained from eight species of sharks: black-tipped (Carcharhinus brevipinna; n=1), bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo; n=7), brown (C. plumbeus; n=16), bull (C. leucas; n=14), lemon (Negaprion brevirostis; n=30), nurse (Ginglymostoma cirratum; n=14), sand tiger (Carcharias...

Associations of Zoos & Aquarium’s animal care manuals: What is the nutrition advisory group’s role?

The Species Survival Plan ® (SSP) or Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is responsible for creating and updating information on their prospective species. It is important to assemble this information in a systematic and consistent manner. In 2005, the Association of Zoo & Aquariums (AZA) created standardized guidelines. Considering the exact nutrient requirements of many exotic animals held in captivity are...

A survey of the nutrient content and intake of the dry season diet consumed by captive Grand Cayman iguanas (Cyclura lewisi)

Nutrient concentrations were determined in foods consumed by both free ranging and captive Grand Cayman iguanas (Cyclura lewisi). Plant collection and nutrient intake was measured during the dry season, when mating is known to occur. Fourteen species of plants known to be consumed by free ranging iguanas, or thought to be historically consumed when their distribution was not limited, were...

Influence of diet on characteristics of nutrient digestion in fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)

Few data are available regarding the nutrition of fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) in captivity. Cryptoprocta ferox are one of few carnivore species endemic to the island of Madagascar, found in woodlands or savannas. Although considered opportunistic carnivores, lemur species constitute a significant portion of the fossa diet. Average body lengths of fossa, range from 65-80 cm in addition to a 60-80...