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

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...

Digestive efficiency and passage rate in two propithecus species fed in a captive diet

The objective was to measure dry matter intake(DMI), digestibility, transit time (TT) and mean retention time (MRT) in captive P. v. coquereli (n=5, 3.7 ( 0.3kg) and P. tattersalli (n=2, 3.2 ( 0.03kg) while being fed a diet consisting of Mazuri Leafeater Primate Chow at 85% of DMI and sumac (Rhus copallina) at 15% of DMI. After a six-week diet...

Zoo guidelines for keeping large felids in captivity

Within the family Felidae, determination of minimum husbandry needs of large cats is variable because of differences in size, morphology, and behavior. For purposes of this discussion, a large felid is identified as any species of cat belonging to the genus Panthera, including: lion, P. leo; tiger, P. tigris; jaguar, P. onca; leopard, P. pardus; and snow leopard, Uncia uncia;...

FAUNA: DIET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR HEALTHY ANIMALS

We all want to feed our animals well; 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. Recording and...

Comparison between two methods for measuring pigmentation of frog’s skin

Tomato frogs belong to the family Mycrohylidae with three recognized species: D. antongilli, D. guineti and D. insularis. All are endemic to Madagascar, and only found in the northern part of the island. These reddish-colored frogs earned their name due their appearance, being similar to tomatoes, especially when they inflate. True colors, however, can vary a great deal, presenting with...

A summary of the role of The American Registry Professional Animal Scientists

The American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) is a body that promotes the professionalism of its animal scientists members. Workers in several fields can apply to have their credentials and experience recognized by their peers. After 10 years of different embodiments and halting progress, ARPAS was launched in 1984, operating without a loss in any year since. Sustaining societies...

Proximate Composition of Milk of Captive Nine-Banded Armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Armadillo dams have a potentially unique challenge in that their pups rapidly grow a bony carapace, suggesting a high requirement for the transfer of calcium and phosphorus from dam to pups via milk. We examined milk samples from 10 armadillo dams, samples collected at days 1 – 6, 14 – 15, 33 – 38, and 49 – 51 after birth....

A retrospective study evaluating vitamin E supplementation in pelicans and plasma alpha-tocopherol concentrations in pelicans, storks, and flamingos

A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of two vitamin E supplement forms in pink-backed pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens). The forms were a paste supplying 100 IU vitamin E daily or a capsule supplying 10.5 IU vitamin E daily. Baseline blood alpha-tocopherol concentrations were 7.15 ug/ml in 1998. After 10 months receiving vitamin E in the capsule form, the...

Reorganization and development of the nutrition department at the Buenos Aires Zoo (1991- 2001)

The objective of this presentation is to describe modifications of nutritional management at the Buenos Aires Zoo from 1991 to present (2001). As with other Latin American zoos, our resources are limited; however we have made strong efforts to overcome financial, technical and organizational difficulties. In 1991, the basic management was in the hands of the keeper, who decided what...

The effect of length of cold storage on secondary plant compounds in browse for captive black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

The endangered black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) suffers from a high rate of mortality in captivity due to conditions such as hemosiderosis and hemolytic anemia. Supplementation of the diet with native browse species rich in tannins and other iron-binding polyphenolics has been proposed as a dietary strategy for reducing iron absorption and accumulation in this population. This study examined the effect...

An update on giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) response to dietary fiber form and carbohydrate profile: implications for animal health

An experimental coarse browser supplement (EF) and a mixture of 75% Mazuri Browser Breeder and 25% Omelene 200 (GF) were used to evaluate the effects of dietary physical form and carbohydrate profile on six non-lactating adult female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) in a modified reversal study using seven 21 day periods. Individually housed giraffe were fed ad libitum alfalfa hay,...

Nutritional physiology of captive fishes

Managing the health of captive fishes requires broad knowledge of environmental, physiological, and nutritional requirements for life in an aquatic realm, something no human being can fully appreciate. In spite of our lack of experience living in an aquatic environment, we can successfully manage the nutritional well-being of captive fishes. In fact, the fundamental requirements of life differ little from...

So you (don’t) think you need a nutritionist?

The first zoo nutritionist was hired at the Smithsonian National Zoo in 1978 (Crissey, 2001a). At the time, this zoo and others were acknowledging the importance of a qualified zoo nutritionist and the value of a zoo nutrition program to the health and welfare of the animals in their collection. To date, nearly 20 AZA accredited facilities in North America,...

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...

Nutritional status in captive Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncates)

Nutritional status of captive dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) was examined using biochemical analysis. Voluntary blood samples, obtained from four healthy captive bottlenose dolphins at Brookfield Zoo, were analyzed for vitamin D metabolites [25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D], lipids (total cholesterol, triacylglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol), and fatty acids. Fish fed to these dolphins were analyzed for dry matter, crude protein, fat, energy, vitamin D,...

Vitamin D intakes by cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and associated serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations

Rickets and osteomalacia have been reported frequently in captive callitrichids. Some have assumed that these conditions are a consequence of unmet, unusually high requirements for vitamin D and that these high requirements are characteristic of all New World primates. As a consequence, certain commercial diets formulated for New World primates contain such high concentrations of vitamin D that their consumption...

Communicating captive wild animal nutrition

Zoo or captive wild animal nutrition is globally evolving into a respected science. It is still in its infancy and there are many unknowns particularly with today’s economic environment. However, there is one certainty about this emerging arena, and that is, only the people caring for these animals and their dedication, will improve the field of zoo nutrition. Often “people...

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...

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...

Nutritional ecology of North American bears

North American brown (Ursus arctos) and black bears (U. americanus) are well known for undergoing major seasonal physiological and nutritional cycles. These cycles can include switching from herbivory to carnivory, from ingesting diets with minimal protein (e.g., fruit) to diets that are primarily protein (e.g., meat), from fasting during the 5 or 6 months of hibernation to daily food intakes...

Fatty acid status of free-ranging and captive black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis): correlation to the use of grain-based products

It has been suspected that the fatty acid (FA) status of captive black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis) differs drastically from their free-ranging conspecifics, due to the difference in FA pattern between the natural forage and the captive diet. Natural forage of black rhinoceros, and temperate browse, contains a n-6/n-3 FA ratio (expressed as % of total FA) of 0.1-0.3. In contrast,...

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...

A retrospective investigation of the prevalence and significance of hemosiderosis in captive pinnipeds

Iron is a trace element required for the synthesis of haemoglobin and a number of energetic reactions. In most species, iron uptake is primarily regulated by the absorption of iron and protein-addition conversion to ferritin in the mucosal layers of the intestines and the sloughing of mucosal layers when iron levels are replete. However, if this system becomes imbalanced as...

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...

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...

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...

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...