2019 ZWNF/NAG Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition
Polar Bear Nutrition Guidelines
Post-Doc: Henry Doorly Zoo
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

A preliminary evaluation of a hand-rearing formula for southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) calves

Exotic neonates may be hand-raised in captivity for various reasons. Records and evaluations of these hand-rearing efforts, the protocols used to achieve typical species growth and behavior, and data on the composition of mother’s milk, are needed to increase the success of hand-rearing a number of exotic species, including the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK)...

The effect of diet on growth and development of Puerto Rican Crested Toad (Peltophryne lemur) tadpoles

The Puerto Rican Crested Toad (Peltophryne lemur), an endemic toad of Puerto Rico, was the first amphibian to be considered suitable for the Species Survival Plan (SSP). Captive propagation for release of this species began in 1983, and the Toronto Zoo has reintroduced over 15,000 animals to their native habitat since 1985. Although these animals have been successfully reared in...

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...

Penguin diet and nutrition

Meeting the nutritional needs of penguins is essential if they are to survive and reproduce in captivity. Developing appropriate dietary guidelines involves using information 1) from feeding ecology data, 2) from published nutrient requirement data 3) on food availability to zoos and 4) on food preference. It is also essential to store and process food items correctly and provision the...

Do maintenance energy requirements of felids reflect their feeding strategies?

Maintenance energy (ME)requirements have been determined for the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus, but not for larger felids. To determine if the domestic cat represents an appropriate model for studies with larger species, we measured digestive efficiency and digestible energy intakes in cats of different body sizes (body mass range: 15-195 kg)which included clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa (n = 9),...

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.

Effect of dietary fiber concentration on apparent digestibility and digesta passage in non-human primates. I. Ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegate variegate and V. v. ruba)

Two test diets with different fiber concentrations (15% acid detergent fiber [ADF], 30% ADF) were fed to five adult female ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata). Apparent digestibility (%) of dry matter (DM), gross energy (GE), and fiber components (neutral detergent fiber [NDF], ADF, hemicellulose [HC], and cellulose [C]) were measured. Rates of digesta transit (TT1) and retention time (RGIT) were assessed...

Intake and digestion in babirusa (Babyousa babyrussa) and red river hogs (Potamochoerus poreus) fed high fiber diets

Previous studies suggest that fiber-digestion capacity of exotic swine species has not been challenged in captive feeding programs. Zoo diets are often low in dietary fiber, which may contribute to obesity, with accompanying joint and possible reproductive problems. Five-day feeding trials were conducted with 3 adult (2.1) babirusa (BAB) (Babyrousa babyrussa) housed separately, and 2 (1.1) adult red river hogs...

Considerations to maximize nutrient supplementation of feeder insects

Providing a nutritionally appropriate diet to amphibians and other insectivores under human care has long proved challenging. The number of available insect species is limited and typically deficient in key nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A. Until more nutritionally balanced options are available, actions should be undertaken to improve the nutritional quality of feeder insects such as the domestic...

Food safety and sanitation

Food Safety and Sanitation is a big aspect of our daily operation and by providing a safe and clean environment you can maintain quality food for the entire collection. The purpose is to help others understand that by doing everything possible to reduce and, or eliminate the threat of food-borne illnesses, that you can keep your food, equipment and staff...

Relationship between feeding time and food intake in hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) and the value of feeding time as predictor of food intake.

The relationship among time spent feeding, number of feeding bouts, feeding bout length, and the amount of food ingested was determined in a study of 18 hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) at the German Primate Center (DPZ). There was considerable within- and between-subject variation in all four variables. Feeding time and number of feeding bouts could explain only 30% and 40%,...

Nutrition of the tamandua: I. Nutrient composition of termites (Nasutitermes spp.) and stomach content from wild tamanduas (Tamandua tetradactyla)

Arboreal termites (Nasutitermes spp.) and stomach contents from tamanduas (Tamandua tetradactyla) were collected in central Venezuela during the mid part of the dry season (March) of 1993 and 1994.Nutritional analyses were performed on each caste (workers (n = 3), soldiers (n = 5), and alates (n =1]), on mixed caste samples (n = 1), and on stomach contents from live...

Cholesterol concentrations in free-ranging gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and (Gorilla beringei) and Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus)

Cholesterol concentrations in captive gorillas and orangutans vary widely within species and average approximately 244 mg/dl for gorillas and 169 mg/dl for orangutans as previously published. The International Species Inventory System reports higher concentrations of 275 and 199 mg/dl for gorillas and orangutans, respectively. It is unknown if these values were typical and/or were influenced by captive management. To answer...

Managing zoo diet information: introducing the next generation of software

We all want to feed our animals well. Yet within zoos and aquariums different stakeholders concentrate on different aspects of feeding; some may be mostly concerned with the nutrient content, others with the way food is presented. The physical and behavioral health of animals may be a principal focus and sustainability, efficiency and costs are becoming increasingly significant drivers. Obviously...

Association of enterolith formation relative to water source pH consumed by wild equids under captive conditions

Intestinal disorders associated with enteroliths in domestic and wild equids have perpetuated folklore feeding practices in the western U.S. Enteroliths are stones formed in the large intestine, consisting primarily of magnesium ammonium phosphate [Mg(NH4)(PO4) – 6H20]. The frequency of enteroliths reported in clinical cases and necropsy reports among captive equids at the Zoological Society of San Diego appears to be...

UNDERSTANDING RAW MEAT DIET FORMULATIONS

Concerns over raw meat diet formulations for zoological carnivores have included microbial contamination and food safety, protein source, and variations in nutrient composition and product consistency. The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act along with the 2012 AVMA Policy on Raw Pet Foods have heightened awareness of food safety concerns related to raw meat diet formulations. This awareness...

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...

Routine dietary husbandry influences sensory evaluation in leopard tortoises (Stigomochelys pardalis)

Controlled sensory evaluations objectively assess physical and/or chemical characteristics that may influence food preference. Such evaluations are valuable to determine food properties that may encourage, or discourage food intake. Multiple factors influence animal behavior and subsequent choice. These must be strictly controlled so specific treatments can be considered in relative isolation. Six, subadult female leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) participated in...

CASE STUDY: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEIGHT GAIN AND OFFSPRING SEX IN AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA AFRICANA) AT THE SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK

Facing a male biased offspring sex ratio (7:4) in the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) population at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (SP), the overall weight and weight gain of the breeding females was analyzed and the weight gain prior to calf conception was determined. The breeding females arrived at the SP heavier than similarly aged Zambian female...

Survey of circulating retinol (Vitamin A) and tocopheral (Vitamin E) concentrations in nesting marine turtles

Although marine turtles are relatively well-studied endangered and threatened species, critical discontinuities exist in the literature regarding numerous significant blood values, especially those of free-ranging populations. Gaining a better understanding of marine turtle ecological physiology is an urgent priority, considering the impact such information could have on conservation management plans and population health assessments [Bolten and Bjorndal, 1992; Raphael et...

Application of a Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIR) to measure protein, fat and moisture in fish samples

Quality control programs need methods for simple and rapid analysis of feeds and ingredients. Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) and Transmission (NIT) Spectroscopy have been previously used for the analyses of fish carcasses (Gjerde and Mathias. 1987; Valdes et al.. 1989 and Downey. 1995). NIR was applied to measure percent fat, protein and moisture in fish samples used for food in...

Dietary taurine supplementation and cardiac function in the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla): preliminary findings

Taurine is not considered an essential amino acid in most mammals as it can be synthesized from cysteine. Cats are an exception, lacking an enzyme necessary for this conversion and a lack of dietary taurine has been linked to central retinal degeneration and dilated cardiomyopathy. This form of feline cardiomyopathy is reversible with a dietary taurine supplement. More recently, a...

Feeding behavior of a herd of Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) at the San Deigo Zoo

The objective of this study was to determine the feeding behavior of a herd of 2.5 Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) (Table 1) and compare this to feeding behavior in other zoo and free-ranging giraffe. In May 2020, 16 h of observations (0500 through 2100) were divided into four time periods (early morning, late morning, early afternoon, evening) and the...

Metabolomics has great potential for clinical and nutritional care and research with exotic animals

This essay explores the potential of metabolomics for exotic animal research in a zoological setting. Metabolomics is a suite of analytical tools aimed at gaining a holistic understanding of animal metabolism without prior knowledge of the compounds to be measured. These metabolic fingerprints can be used to define normal metabolism for an unstudied species, to characterize the metabolic deviation of...

Feeding frenzy: turning the science of zoo nutrition into a game for kids

In 2012, Busch Gardens opened the Animal Care Center to the public to share general information about the techniques and science involved in preventative and emergency care of the 12,000 animal residents of the zoo as well as local injured wildlife. Zoo educators teamed up with the veterinary and nutrition staff to develop demonstrations and interpretive elements that would share...

Designing an online hand-rearing resource center: first steps

In 2014, Safari West and the Safari West Wildlife Foundation (Santa Rosa, CA) hosted “The Inaugural AZVT (Association of Zoo Veterinary Technians) Focus Group: The Art and Science of Hand-Rearing”, a symposium that was attended by 80 zoo professionals from around the globe. With the initial focus on carnivores and hoofstock, twenty international speakers provided their insights into both historical...

Optimum feeding and dietary formulation for ornamental fish species

The formulation of adequate diets for organisms in an aquatic environment gives a greater challenge to those involved in their care, compared to terrestrial species. The aim of this paper was to highlight all the factors which should be considered when formulating a maintenance feeding program for ornamental fish. The provision of energy and other nutrients to poikilothermic animals can...

Nutritional composition of the diet of Alouatta palliate Mexicana females in different reproductive states

Observational data on the feeding and behavior of a semi free-ranging troop of mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata mexicana) were collected and analyzed to determine whether differences exist in the nutritional composition of the diet of females at different reproductive states. The reproductive states selected for study were non-gestation (control), gestation, and lactation. Mean ingestion was calculated in grams/day and...

Nutrient composition of the milk of the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

Little information exists about milk composition in obligate insectivores or in members of the mammalian superorder Xenarthra. A total of 37 milk samples collected from 3 lactating giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) were assayed for proximate nutrient content at the Nutrition Laboratory of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute using standard methods developed at the Nutrition Laboratory. Water comprised 88.7 ± 2.1%...