2019 ZWNF/NAG Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition
Polar Bear Nutrition Guidelines
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

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...

Pyramiding is not caused by excess calcium and/or phosphorus in young Red-eared sliders, Trachemys scripta elegans

Pyramiding, is a condition in which the scutes of the carapace of turtles become deformed and elevated, taking on a pyramid shape. Pyramiding is believed to be a nutritional problem, however its exact cause is unknown. Given that the turtle carapace is composed largely of bone, it was hypothesized that it may be caused by an imbalance in dietary calcium...

Serum concentrations of lipids, vitamins A and E, vitamin D metabolites, and carotenoids in nine primate species at four zoos

The purpose of this work was to measure important nutritional status parameters for captive primates, compare those with published data, and look for a link with diet. The nutritional status of nine captive primate species was examined using biochemical analysis. The species were spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza), sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus), Schmidt’s monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius), mandrills...

Small ruminants: digestive capacity differences among four species weighing less than 20 Kg

Small ruminants are generally classified as either browsers or frugivores. We compared intake and digestion in one browsing species, the pudu (Pudu pudu), body weight 9 kg, and three frugivorous species, the red brocket (Mazama americana), 20kg, the bay duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis), 12kg, and Maxwell’s duiker (C. maxwellii), 9 kg. Rations comprised: a commercial grain and alfalfa pellet, a small...

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...

Energy requirements of captive non-human primates

Energy is a fundamental need of all living things. In the wild, satisfying energy requirements may be the most important aspect of foraging ecology and feeding decisions. In captivity, satisfying an animal’s energy requirement is usually not difficult. The concern is more over balancing energy intake with that of other necessary nutrients. The energy density of manufactured foods is normally...

Nutrient composition of whole crayfish eaten by hellbender salamanders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis spp.)

Four species of native Missouri crayfish identified as foods of the Ozark hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi), were analyzed for nutrient content including water, proximate composition (crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and ash), as well as vitamin A, vitamin E, total carotenoids, and select mineral concentrations. Additionally, fatty acids in crayfish were examined and compared with krill as a...

Evaluation of nutrient composition of common invertebrate feeders fed different supplemental diets

While the complete nutrient composition of invertebrates commonly fed to insectivorous animals has been studied, research evaluating the differences among supplemental diets marketed to improve their overall nutrient composition is limited. Previous studies have focused on calcium intake in crickets, and to a lesser extent in mealworms, but diets for superworms have not been evaluated. This study evaluated the proximate...

Nutrition of the enigmatic browser: Comparative bioenergetics, digestion and feeding of northern versus tropical ungulates

Wild ungulates use time, habitat, and food in complex ways in relation to social, security, comfort, and bioenergetic needs to optimization fitness from decisions during day-to-day living. Species in highly seasonal environments experience changes in nutritional requirements in association with adaptations to quality and quantity of available food. Evolutionary implications are closely tied to seasonal bioenergetic cycles and become extremely...

Ideal protein and zoo carnivores: further considerations for optimizing diets

Carnivorous zoo species are often fed “natural product” diets, i.e. raw meat-based meals for large felids, whole vertebrate prey, entire fish for aquatic or otherwise piscivorous species, and/or a variety of invertebrates consumed by insectivores. In general, these types of diets contain relative excess protein compared to nutritional requirements established for domestic cats and dogs, (NRC, 2006) or production species...

Predicting nutrient values of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

From May to December each year, the African elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom receive elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) as a significant portion of their diet. Near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) is used to quickly predict the nutrient quality of the forage. Samples of elephant grass have been collected since 2003 and used to develop calibration equations. As...

Medical considerations when exhibiting multiple taxa in large aquarium systems

Large multi-taxa aquatic systems are often challenging for both husbandry and veterinary personnel. A wide variety of diseases can afflict entire systems with potential medical considerations for all exposed taxa. Largely for logistic reasons, the most common method of disease treatment is the addition of chemotherapeutics directly to the aquatic environment. However, the potential for species-specific toxicoses associated with some...

Evaluation of season of harvest and water addition on forage quality of willow (Salix caroliniana) processed for silage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The objective of this study was to evaluate two seasons of harvest and water addition at the time of ensiling on silage quality of Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana). If successful, willow silage could be used as a supplement during the winter months for some browse-consuming animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The experiment consisted of two harvest seasons and two moisture...

Chemical composition of Southeast Asian Colobine foods

Digestive disturbances have been considered a major health issue among captive colobines [Janssen, 1994; Calle et al., 1995]. Inadequate or inappropriate fiber sources may underlie some of these problems. Apart from maintaining normal gastrointestinal function [Van Soest, 1994 ], one critical issue in husbandry of these species is the necessity of providing a suitable diet for supporting pregastric [Stevens, 1988]...

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...

Comparative crop milk composition in grantivorous and frugivorous Columbidae

Crop milk, a glandular secretion produced by doves, pigeons, and some species of penguins and flamingoes, was collected from five different species of dove squabs at the Memphis Zoo between day 0 and 14 post-hatching. These species (Ptilinopus jambu, Ptilinopus magnificus, Gallicolumba luzonica, Gallicolumba rufigula, and Streptopelia decaocto), range from primarily frugivorous to primarily granivorous representatives of Columbidae. The samples...

A streamlined procedure for the determination of trace elements in foods

Considerable analytical challenges were imposed on food chemists when Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA). When this law was ratified, labeling of fourteen food nutrients became mandatory, and thirty-four others voluntary. Many Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) validated methods for foods are matrix or analyte specific. Developing rugged, generic methodology for all foods became...

Improvement of male fertility by long-term beta-carotene supplementation in white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum)

Substantial knowledge on the reproductive physiology of the female white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) has been gathered over the past years. However, little emphasis has been put on the evaluation of male fertility as a possible contributing factor to the demographic crisis of the captive population considering that 81% of male captive white rhinoceros have not sired offspring. Objective of this...

Food, behavioral enrichment, and primates: some guidelines

Primates are prominent animals in captive collections. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandates that dealers, exhibitors, and research facilities develop, document and follow an appropriate plan for environment enhancement adequate to promote the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates (APHIS, USDA 1992). Zoos have long recognized the importance of enrichment for captive primates. Most zoos use food as a...

Milk composition of the reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)

Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are the most common subspecies of giraffe maintained in zoological institutions. The gestation length for a reticulated giraffe is about 455 days (15 months). Lactation in wild giraffes has been estimated to last 12-13 months. The milk samples used in this study were part of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s Milk Repository and had been...

Survey of nutrient concentrations in the diet, serum, and urine of giraffe maintained in North American zoos

In order to elucidate the causes of urolithiasis in giraffe, a comprehensive survey was initiated in September 2004 of giraffe within North American zoological institutions. Giraffe feeding practices and medical histories were examined, and holding institutions were recruited to submit samples of feeds, water, serum, urine and feces, and asked to participate in a feeding trial.

Allometry and Ecology of Feeding Behaviour and Digestive Capacity in Herbivores

Allometry and Ecology of Feeding Behaviour and Digestive Capacity in Herbivores Peter J. Van Soest Cornell University, Ithaca, New York Ruminants are animals that have specialized on the capture of energy in cellulosic carbohydrates in contrast to perissodactyls that tend to consume volume with lower extraction. Thus equids, for example, are more tolerant to low quality forages than many ruminants...

Nutritional status of goats used in controlling forestry underbrush vegetation

The nutritional status of goats used in a forest vegetation control was evaluated by the performance of goats in two field trials conducted in 1995 and 1996. Nutritional status of the goats was determined by assessing weight gain performance and the composition of the forages consumed. Six 0.202 ha (132.68 m x 15.25 m) forest paddocks were assigned in a...

Application of existing domestic animal condition scoring systems for captive (zoo) animals

Quantifying body weight of captive wild animals has become one common assessment tool for evaluating general health. Although body weight is a very useful measurement, for most zoo animals the average body weight for stages of growth, pregnancy, or maintenance have yet to be defined. Another concern is that using weight alone, as a means of determining proper conditioning, is...

Development of a rumen fluid preservation technique and application to an in vitro dry matter digestibility assay

The objective of this study was to develop a rumen-fluid freezing and thawing protocol to be used with a two-stage in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) assay. Rumen fluid was collected on three different days (one week apart) from a domestic steer (Bos taurus) and preserved via freezing, freezing with 5% glycerol (GLY) or freezing with 5% glycerol plus a...

Colitis in captive tamarins displayed on semi-natural mixed species exhibits in a North American zoo

Callitrichids have long been kept in zoological exhibits and in laboratory colonies. They are considered to be difficult to maintain and breed in captivity. Most of the species are considered to be endangered, threatened or vulnerable. Some causes of morbidity and mortality include inappropriate housing and diet, disease and trauma related to social stress, wasting marmoset syndrome, infectious diseases and...