Toronto Zoo Announces ZWNF Resident
Assessing the Nutritional Welfare and Status of Animals
Mazuri Technical Associate Position Opening
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

Nutrition + Environmental Enrichment = Animal Well-Being

The nutritional management of different species requires modifications in the shape and presentation of the diet, not only due to the idiosyncrasy of the animal but also due to the natural way to obtain the food. When possible, captive animals should be fed natural diets; however availability and cost make it very difficult for a wild diet to be duplicated...

Nutrient composition of American flamingo crop milk

Crop milk samples (30 mL) were collected from juvenile (6-7 wks old) American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber, n = 14) in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve (El Cuyo, Mexico) on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The samples were analyzed for dry matter, crude protein, fat, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, molybdenum, zinc), vitamin A,...

Advances in feline nutrition 1: commercially available beef and horsemeat-based raw meat diets for captive exotic felids

The predominant diet types fed to captive exotic felids are raw meat supplemented with vitamins and minerals, raw meat-based commercial diets, and whole prey. There is a paucity of information on the nutritive value of many of the dietary options. In the US, commercial rawmeat based diets are the main diet type fed (Pearson, et al., 2005). Reported values for...

Nutritional physiology of duikers: a synthesis

Duikers (Cephalophus and Sylvicapra spp) form a guild of small antelope inhabiting the forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Local duiker communities are diverse, with 17 species ranging 10-fold in body mass (3 – 80 kg). Duikers can be adversely affected by forest management and hunting, thus 15 species are listed in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature red list...

Viverrid digestive physiology: comparison of binturongs (Artictis binturong) and dwarf mongoose (Helgale parvula)

A preliminary investigation was conducted to compare intake and digestion in the largest and smallest members of the Viverridae family, highly frugivorous binturongs (Arctictis binturong; n=2) and the more carnivorous dwarf mongoose (Helogale parvula; n=6) housed in groups. Normal zoo diets were monitored over two 4-day periods, with total feed intake and fecal output measured.

Palatability of bucker ensiled willow as a winter diet item for browsing herbivores

Browsing herbivores in zoological institutions may be severely limited in the amount of natural browse offered, especially in winter months, with implications for gastrointestinal and overall animal health. A large quantity of freshly cut willow browse (~6100 kg) was ensiled in June 2010 after chipping the product into a lined 15’ x 6’ x 6’ container with molasses (~4% of...

Nutritional analysis of mixed produce for exotic species using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS)

Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) has long been established as a fast, easy, and cost effective technology for measuring basic organic components utilized in diet formulations. In zoological facilities, accurate timely quality control of diet ingredients, including highly variable items and those with a short shelf life, such as produce, can be difficult. We utilized traditional wet chemistry data from...

INGREDIENT VARIABILITY, STABILITY, AND PROCESSING EFFECTS

Often the assumption when constructing diets for pets is that nutrient requirements are a fixed number found in a table. Likewise, we often hear of nutrient values for ingredients and assume that they are a constant. Common sense tells us both assumptions are false. For ingredients these values are subject to wide ranges in variation from supplier to supplier, from...

The impact of nutritional factors on the development of phosphatic uroliths using meat goats as a model for captive giraffes

Obstructive urolithiasis is a documented problem in domestic ruminants, such as the meat goat, and exotic herbivores, such as captive giraffe. These two species develop phosphorus based uroliths and are considered browsing ruminants. Due to the logistical challenges of performing studies with captive giraffe, a metabolic trial was conducted using meat goats as a model. The intent of this study...

Case Study: Winos for Rhinos: Feeding Grape Pomace to Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) as a Method for Mitigating Iron Storage Disease

Iron storage disease has been detrimental to the captive browsing rhinoceros population. One of the proposed methods for reducing available iron in the gut of these animals is to increase iron chelators into the captive diet that are normally present in the wild diet. This study used the wine making by-product grape pomace, which is naturally high in tannins, as...

A contribution to the trace element nutrition of captive black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis)

Due to the potential involvement of trace mineral imbalances in health problems observed in captive rhinoceroses, there has been recent interest in trace mineral provision by and absorption from captive diets. In one investigation, forage of free-ranging black rhinoceroses contained, on average, 6.5 (range: 3.0-12.2) mg copper (Cu)/kg dry matter (DM), 113 (29-215) mg iron (Fe)/kg DM, 89 (11-269) mg...

Highlighting conservation nutrition: the Saint Louis Zoo’s Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center

The Saint Louis Zoo’s high standard for animal care is evidenced by the opening of its Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center (OANC) in 2007, a world class facility that highlights critical functions of the Nutrition Department in meeting the nutritional needs of wildlife. Not only will the collection animals be served, but also the science and research programs supporting the institution’s...

Nutrient composition of savannahs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Lake Buena Vista Florida is home to a wide variety of animal species. Rooms at the Lodge look out over three savannah areas housing a collection of African animals. In spring 2006, a comprehensive investigation into the nutrient composition of the savannahs at the Lodge was initiated. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), bahia grass (Paspalum notatum)...

Thermal constraints on grazing and browsing herbivores

There are five ways in which an animal may exchange heat with its environment: solar (shortwave) radiation gain, longwave radiation exchange, convective exchange, conductive exchange, and heat loss by evaporation. This heat exchange, in combination with the metabolic heat produced by the animal, defines the animal’s heat balance (Figure 1). When a homeothermic animal cannot lose sufficient body heat (generated...

Food Intake Patterns in Captive South African Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus)

Food intake data from 1990-94 from eight South African fur seals at the Metro Toronto Zoo were evaluated. From the data collected, fish species, total fish offered and total fish consumed were summarized on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Proximate analysis was performed on samples of each fish species. Gross energy intake (GEI) was determined based on the...

Vitamin A supplementation via cricket dusting: the effects of dusting fed and fasted crickets of three sizes using two different supplements on nutrient content

This study was undertaken to determine the efficacy in delivering vitamin A supplementation via dusting feed crickets (Acheta domestica) to reptiles and amphibians, many of whom have shown vitamin A deficiencies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other institutions. While there have been multiple previous studies regarding supplementation in crickets, the majority have focused on calcium supplementation. Levels of vitamin A...

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...

Nutrient and fermentation characteristics of Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) silage

The objective of this study was to evaluate the nutrient and fermentation characteristics of Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) silage. Twelve laboratory scale silos (10.2 cm diameter x 45.7 cm long) were packed by hand with chopped willow (1.41 kg as-is, range 1.28 – 1.65 ± 0.18 SD) and opened on 0, 21, 42, and 84-d post-ensiling (three replicates per period)....

Evaluation of vitamin A status and diagnosis of hypovitaminosis A in amphibians

Without supplementation, insect-based diets for amphibians and reptiles are known to be deficient in nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A (Livingston et al., 2014). In the last decade, hypovitaminosis A has been recognized as a limiting factor for amphibian conservation programs that must successfully maintain and breed endangered species for ex situ rescue, survival assurance, and reintroduction programs (Pessier,...

Non-invasive methods for nutritional research at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust

This poster/paper presents a review of nutritional research at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (JWPT). JWPT is an international conservation organization working to save animals from extinction. At present JWPT does not employ a full-time nutritionists and yet in recent years at least 16 species have been the focus of nutritional research, a list which includes reptile, birds and mammals....

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...

Comparative protein requirements of three species of parrots with distinct dietary specializations

Highly specialized nectarivorous and frugivorous birds have overcome the constraints of low dietary protein levels. Proposed physiological mechanisms that enable such specialists to subsist on low-protein diets include low protein requirements, low endogenous protein losses, high feed intake, and high protein digestibilities. These traits were compared among nectarivorous red lories (Eos bornea), frugivorous Pesquet’s parrots (Psittrichas fulgidus), and granivorous budgerigars...

A comparative study of blood lipids, electrolytes, and stress levels between captive and semi-captive orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) under tropical conditions

Blood samples were collected from 27 orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) (14 captive and 13 semicaptive) and were analyzed for triglycerides, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC), sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, glucose, Cortisol levels, total white blood cells (WBC) and WBC differential count. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in total cholesterol and HDLC level between...

The good, the bad and the ugly: Feedstuff evaluation and quality control

Overall diet quality is controlled by the quality of the individual items that comprise the diet. This seems intuitively obvious, but is “easier said than done” when it is applied to zoo diets. Usually we use multiple items in combination (complete feeds, produce, meat, fish, whole prey, etc.) to meet the nutrient needs of the animals in our care, and...

Evaluation of browse composition: vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, and deficiency is known to impact the reproduction, growth, and immunity in many species. Dietary browse can be an important source of vitamin E for animals housed in zoological institutions; however the contribution of these items to total dietary vitamin E likely varies by browse species and across time. Our objective was to evaluate...

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...

Formulating Diets for Tamandua (T. tetradactyla) in Brazilian Zoos

Diet has long been suspected to be the primary cause of Tamanduas inability to thrive in some Brazilian zoos. It is known that free ranging animals consume diets consisting of termites and ants. Unfortunately, little is known about the nutrient requirements of insectivorous species. In addition, incomplete data exist on the nutrient content of many prey species. An assessment of...

Nutrition therapy for human gastrointestinal disorders and application to captive non-human primates

Abnormal gastrointestinal function is considered to be a common problem among captive non-human primates. Certain nutrients and diet patterns are implicated in abnormal gastrointestinal function and disease. The human nutrition field uses medical nutrition therapies to prevent and/or manage a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. Some of these may be appropriate for application to non-human primates. Current evidence-based nutrition interventions for...

Comparative Serum Analysis of Free-Ranging and Managed Green Moray Eels (Gymnothorax funebris) and Relationship to Diet Fed to Eels Under Human Care

Green moray eels (Gymnothorax funebris) under human care are reported to have elevated plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations with associated development of lipid keratopathy (Clode et al. 2012). Nevertheless, serum trace mineral and vitamin analyses have not been assessed, and the complete nutrient content (cholesterol, vitamins, and minerals) of managed eel diets has also not been reported (Clode et al....