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

The influence of plant chemistry on browse choice in Angolan Colobus Monkeys (Colobus angolensis palliates)

Browse is included in the diets of many primate species, especially those that consume large portions of leaf material under free-ranging conditions. The challenge of providing a reliable source of browse is complicated by the limited availability of plant species that are nutritionally adequate, palatable, and available in suitable quantities to meet the demands of the animal collection.

A GUIDE TO DECIDING ON A CENTRALIZED VS DECENTRALIZED COMMISSARY APPROACH IN A ZOO SETTING

Likely since the inception of zoological collections, there has been a debate over whether it is most efficient and effective to have a centralized or a decentralized commissary operation. Proponents of both types of operations know the bonuses and shortfalls of their own approach, as well as their perceptions of each for the “path not chosen.” Both approaches have been...

Nutritional requirements of adult palm cockatoos

The nutrition section is based on a questionnaire that was distributed in 1992 to facilities that have bred or displayed palm cockatoos, on general knowledge of the nutritional requirements of birds (in particular successful diets and practices with psittacines), and on what has been observed with palm cockatoos at ABRC over the years.

The milk repository at Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park

Lactation, the exocrine secretion of milk from mammary glands for the nourishment of young, is a defining characteristic of mammals. All female mammals produce milk, and milk is the first food of all neonatal mammals. The diversity of the mammalian radiation is reflected in the diversity of lactation strategies that have evolved. This in turn is reflected in differences in...

Evaluation of eight species of native Texas browse as suitable forage substitutes for black rhinoceros (Dieros bicornis)

Duplication of natural foodstuffs for animals in captivity can be a difficult task. While it may not be possible to provide food sources normally available in an animal’ s natural habitat, a prospective goal might be to provide similar nutrients from locally available foods. Eight species of native Texas browse were studied for adequacy as a source of browse for...

Nutritional pathology 101: common post mortem lesions of nutritional deficiencies and excess across taxa

The wide variety of lifestyle, digestive tract, and physiologic adaptations that exist across taxa result in an expansive array of nutritional needs and sensitivities, which can result in inadvertent essential nutrient excesses or deficiencies that result in disease (Barboza et al., 2009; Dierenfeld, 1997). While the incidence of nutrition related disease has seen a steady decline in veterinary pathology with...

FEED-RELATED HYPERVITAMINOSIS D IN A CAPTIVE FLOCK OF BUDGERIGARS (MELOPSITTACUS UNDULATAS): MORBIDITY, MORTALITIES AND PATHOLOGIC LESIONS

In the spring of 2012, the Blank Park Zoo began suffering mortalities in a flock of 229 captive Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) housed in an interactive public-feeding aviary. Clinical signs included weakness, posterior paresis, inability to fly, central nervous signs or acute death. Gross and microscopic lesions were not apparent in acutely affected deceased birds. Many birds had evidence of trauma,...

Advances in feline nutrition 2: evaluations of protein and fiber sources for raw meat based diets in captive exotic felids

Little nutritional or metabolic information has been collected from captive exotic felids fed raw diets. In depth data on nutrient composition (e.g., fatty acid and amino acid composition) are sparse, and may impact diet formulation. Additionally, although several studies have examined total tract nutrient digestibility in captive exotic felid, (Clauss, et al., 2010; Vester, et al., 2010a) most have focused on horsemeat and beef-based...

Training, enrichment and sound animal nutrition can coexist the development of a multifaceted bird feeding program at the Philadelphia Zoo

In conjunction with the development of a new training program, the Zoo developed a 4 part-feeding program for collection birds that integrates training with nutrition and enrichment. This program allowed the Zoo to better monitor the feed intake of individual birds within a mixed species exhibit and collect data on individual animals. The program placed birds into three general groupings...

Trace element intake of Cercopithecinae

The Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn and Mo intake was determined in 5 species of Cercopithecinae kept in captivity. The feed dry matter contained up to three times higher concentrations of trace elements compared to humans’ mixed and vegetarian diets. Although the mean body mass of the animals only amounted to 8% of the body mass of humans, they had a...

NUTRIENT STABILITY OVER TIME IN MANUFACTURED FEEDS

Understanding nutrient stability over time is of critical importance when determining the shelf life of animal feed. Trials examining nutrient stability are difficult to manage because of the long duration of trials, particularly if multiple environmental conditions are examined. It is well known that a variety of factors including temperature, humidity, light, and interactions between nutrients (e.g., oxidation of fat...

Dietary treatment of iron storage disease in captive birds of paradise (Paradisaea raggiana)

Elevated serum iron parameters were lowered through dietary manipulation in captive Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) using a modification of previously published low-iron diets. Study birds were part of a captive breeding program consisting of two males and one female, captive born, 3.5 to 9 years of age. Serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), percent transferrin saturation, body weight,...

Effect of nutrition on the reproductive fitness of the endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken

Attwater’s Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) are an endangered Texan grouse species. Their survival relies on captive breeding for propagation of the free-ranging population. In recent years, chick hatchability and survivability in captivity has steadily decreased, with survivability in 2004 less than 30%. Preliminary data obtained in 2004 from captive and free ranging Attwater’s Prairie Chickens, demonstrated potential differences in...

Sustainability issues come home: choosing seafood for zoo and aquarium animals

It has been have taken for granted that wild populations of seafood species would always be readily available. Unfortunately, there are limitations and a continued trend in the decline of fish populations both in the United States and around the globe. At the same time, the demand for seafood is increasing. Captive piscivorous animals must be provided with seafood to...

Impact of Removing Dietary Supplementation on Serum Nutrient Concentrations in a Managed Population of Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana)

The Walt Disney Company manages two distinct populations of female southern stingrays (Dasyatis americana) at The Seas, Orlando, FL, and at Castaway Cay, Bahamas. Stingrays are housed in artificial (Orlando) or natural (Bahamas) seawater.  We previously reported significant differences between these two populations based on eight years of routinely collected serum data.1 The aim of this study was to assess...

Gastritis in the Short-Beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus): Parallels with Ruminal Acidosis in Herbivores and Implications for the Understanding of Echidna Digestive Physiology

Short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) are endemic to Australia and south-eastern New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). In mainland Australia they feed primarily on termites. Echidnas have a single chambered stomach which is entirely lined with squamous (non-glandular) cells, and is histologically analogous to the rumen. The short-beaked echidna stomach has historically been understood to function as a grinding or...

Plasma electrolyte concentration for African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) and their relationship to habitat type and salt supplementation

African penguins are common display animals in North American zoos and aquariums. At present 43 American Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) accredited institutions, maintaining over 700 African penguins, participate in a species survival plan (SSP) for this species. There are currently some institutions that maintain their birds in freshwater without salt supplementation. No associated health issues have been reported by these...

Practical considerations for supportive nutritional care of elasmobranchs

Inappetence / anorexia is not always a sign of a clinical disease process in progress. Anorexia in elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays) can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from injury, inappropriate water quality, environmental disturbance, and social organization to temperature changes, season or life stage, and manifestation of typical foraging behavior. The challenge is to determine, as...

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...

Limitations of Plasma or Serum Analysis in Assessing Vitamin E Status of Domestic and Wild Animals

Venipuncture is a relatively noninvasive means of sampling tissues for determination of deviations from physiologic norms. To the extent that norms can be defined and deviations from norms can be associated with abnormality, blood analyses may be medically useful. However, studies of vitamin E metabolism have shown that neither the magnitude of body stores nor the availability of dietary supplies...

The effects of fiber type and fiber levels on digestibility and volatile fatty acid formation in the Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

The diets of free-ranging orangutans are high in structural cell wall material, which comprises the fiber fraction in plants [Hamilton and Galdikas, 1994]. Microbial populations residing in the hindgut accomplish fiber digestion via fermentation. Animals use volatile fatty acids, end products of fiber fermentation, as a source of energy. Readily available produce items contain small amounts of fermentable fiber [Schmidt...

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)...

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...

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...

Hypovitaminosis A: influence of three diets or topical treatment on hepatic, adipose, and plasma retinoid concentrations and presence of squamous metaplasia in Mississippi gopher frogs (Rana capito servosa)

Hypovitaminosis A has been linked to health concerns in amphibians causing squamous metaplasia of the tongue, bladder, kidneys and other organs. Juvenile Mississippi Gopher Frogs (Rana capito servosa) at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (n = 32) were randomly assigned to one of four vitamin A treatment groups including three dietary feeder cricket treatments and one topical vitamin A...

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%,...

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...