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

Effect of dietary soluble fiber on gut microbiota in the sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps): a pilot study

The sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) is an exudativore in nature, eating plant gums, saps, resins, manna, and nectars as well as insect-based honeydew and lerp, with proportions of various ingredients highly dependent on seasonality and locale (Smith, 1982; Howard, 1989). Despite a well-developed cecum that could, in theory, harbor microbial populations with fermentative capabilities (Hume, 1999), a majority of captive...

Implications of carbohydrate feeding for captive herbivore nutrition and welfare

Carbohydrates comprise the major portion of most herbivore diets. Research is limited regarding the effect of carbohydrates as provided in commercial feeds, forage, and browse on the nutrition and health of captive herbivores. However, the diversity of carbohydrates, their digestion characteristics, nutrients they supply, impacts of their physical form, and potential impact on animal health strongly recommend that they be...

Managing diabetes through diet in black-footed tree rats (Mesembriomys gouldii) and greater stick-nest rats (Leporillus conditor)

Clinical and pathological signs consistent with diabetes mellitus (DM) were observed in a collection of Black Footed Tree Rats (BFTR; Mesembriomys gouldii) and Greater Stick-Nest Rats (GSNR; Leporillus conditor) housed at Taronga zoo. Review of the medical records of eighteen BFTR between 1991 and 2014, and thirty eight GSNR between 1995 and 2014, revealed a high frequency of animals with...

Are super dose concentrations of vitamin E really necessary for reproduction in birds?

Vitamin E requirements for exotic avian species remain undetermined and await investigation. As a result, diets formulated for captive exotic birds rely on the development of target ranges and feeding guidelines in order to minimize the risk of developing deficiencies and/or toxicities. These target ranges are commonly based on the requirements of domestic poultry, with the addition of calculation factors...

Zoo nutrition with budget constraints

It is becoming apparent to the zoo community that a quality nutrition program is a key to improved animal health, and potentially added contentment of the animal. Improved nutrition can also lead to enhanced breeding programs. However, even realizing this, many zoological institutions can not yet justify the cost of a full-time nutritionist. Therefore, a question often asked is, “How...

Do more with less: the value of developing a collaborative approach to nutrition-based research

In the last decade, there has been a gradual awareness that basic research on nutritional physiology and digestive strategies is essential for improving the management and care of zoo animals. However, few small or medium-sized AZA zoological institutions have been able to commit the financial resources and meet the logistical needs to staff and conduct these types of critical studies....

Analyses of Diet and Serum Mineral Concentrations in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Housed at the NC Zoo

Elephants in human care (Loxodonta africana) are often over conditioned. Consequently, many zoos aim for reduced caloric intake and increased activity levels. Diets containing higher dietary browse and forage percentages with lower inclusion of pelleted components may stimulate increased foraging behavior. However, feeding increased browse with unknown nutrient profiles while decreasing pelleted nutritionally complete feed could prove problematic with respect...

A comparative nutrient analysis of fish species consumed by managed and free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) with respect to ammonium urate nephrolithiasis

Ammonium urate nephroliths develop in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) managed under human care, but do not occur in free-ranging dolphins (Smith et al., 2013). In mammals, urate urolith development has been attributed partly to the effect of diet on urine saturation and pH. Free-ranging and collection dolphins consume diets that differ in fish species variety, location, and fresh versus...

Selection of proper feeds to assist in the dental management of carnivores

Proper dental care of carnivores in a zoological setting is of utmost concern among zoo professionals. Dental health is based on nutrition, environment, and overall animal health. This paper deals with the nutritional aspect of carnivore health. Zoo carnivores are able to survive on a variety of diets in captivity, but in order to assure proper dental health, feeds which...

MODELING INDIVIDUAL ENERGY STATUS FOR IMPROVED ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

Energy use may represent the most direct gauge of physiological activity and thus relative nutrient requirements, however nutrient requirements are generally reported relative to intake or bodyweight, assumptions which make it difficult to confidently estimate nutrient targets for individuals and species. Managing energy balance in captive exotic animals is even more challenging due to the limitations of their environment including...

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...

Vitamin D and Primates: Recurring Problems on a Familiar Theme

Captive primates housed indoors with little access to ultraviolet light have historically been susceptible to metabolic bone disease. The trend in zoological parks toward building large, indoor exhibits has potentially exacerbated this problem. Most skylight materials are not transparent to the wavelengths of ultraviolet light (UV-B) necessary for endogenous production of vitamin D. It is possible that most primates, like...

Evaluation and Reformulation of Diets for Captive Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)

The feeding choices of wild aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) have been studied recently and found to include insects, insect larvae, nuts, bark, fungi, and fruits. Proximate analyses, some mineral, and some fat-soluble vitamin analyses of commonly consumed food items have been performed on these choices but there are no published data available which have quantified nutrient intake in captivity in relation...

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...

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...

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...

The Mob – Under Investigation

‘Brewer’, a 4 year old male red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) under human care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, presented on December 10, 2016 with signs of colic, penile prolapse, and dribbling urine. Diagnostic imaging, including radiographs and computed tomography (CT) with contrast, revealed urethral obstruction with a radiopaque stone and additional uroliths in the left ureter and right renal pelvis. The...

Case Study: Iron in Black Rhinoceros Diets: The Impact of Pasture

Over the course of a year, serum ferritin and iron in a black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) increased over time, despite a prescribed diet low in iron. To identify additional sources of iron intake, vegetation in the enclosure was analyzed for iron content. Iron concentrations in enclosure samples averaged 736 ppm, well in excess of maximum recommended total-diet concentrations of 300...

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...

Practical Investigation of Cricket Dust Supplements Commonly Used to Enhance Diets Provided to Insectivore Species under Human Care

Amphibians and reptiles commonly managed under human care are commonly fed farmed feeder crickets (Acheta domesticus) that are deficient in calcium. Calcium deficiency can lead to the development of nutritional metabolic bone disease in animals consuming the crickets; therefore, feeder crickets are commonly supplemented with calcium by either dusting the crickets’ exoskeleton or by providing crickets with a calcium enriched...

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...

AAFCO GUIDELINES: DEVELOPMENT OF THE GUIDELINES AND USE

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets; the nutritional adequacy guidelines for pet foods. These guidelines are developed by AAFCO subcommittees and then presented to the pet food industry and AAFCO membership for comment. Final regulations are published yearly in the “Official Publication. Association of American Feed Control Officials”.

Chemical composition of foods eaten by African colobines compared with Southeast Asian colobines

Nutritional analyses of foods eaten by wild colobine populations can be useful for understanding colobine nutritional needs, crucial for successful maintenance of captive populations. A previous report by Nijboer et al. summarized the mineral and proximate data for browse composition of three species of Southeast Asian colobines. The authors noted that the diets of these wild colobines contained substantially more...

Nutritional and bacteriologic evaluation as part of a raw meat quality control program

Six lots of raw horsemeat diet (Zoo Carnivore Diet, Dallas Crown, Inc., Kaufman, TX 75142 USA) were analyzed in triplicate for selected nutritional and bacteriologic components. Aliquots of frozen meat were submitted to a commercial laboratory (Dairy One, Inc., Ithaca, NY 14850 USA) to determine proximate composition, mineral levels, and gross energy. Additional aliquots were thawed at 10°C for 44...

General procedures and guidelines for hand rearing felid neonates

There are many reasons to hand rear felid neonates in a zoological setting. The criteria for doing so should be set in advance of parturition and all preparations made for the process. The possibility of illness or common ailment should be anticipated and plans should be made for routine veterinary checks. Staff involvement, feeding schedules, formula, feeding supplies and methods...

Analysis of Fatty Acid Profiles in Eastern Box (Terrapene carolina carolina) and Common Snapping (Chelydra serpentine) Turtles for Wild and In-Human Care Environments

Diets of wild animals are often more diverse and offer higher concentrations of nutrients than those of animals’ in-human care (zoos, rehabilitation facilities, etc.). Managing wild animals within human care facilities is often necessary, and we hypothesized that chelonian dietary differences within circulating fatty acid profiles would be reflected in wild vs human care data. The current study examined the...

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.

Birth weights and growth rates of giraffe and okapi at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

There is a lack of information available regarding the average birth weights and growth rates of many exotic animal species. This information can prove useful when evaluating the health of new born animals in a zoological setting. Within 24 to 48 hours of birth, giraffe (Giraffa camelopardis) and okapi (Okapia johnstoni) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are weighed and health is...

Nutrition utilization by and diet preference of American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) when offered diets of channel catfish and (or) grass carp

Twelve pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) captured in northeast Mississippi were used to determine nutrient metabolism when consuming channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and(or) grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). Another objective was to determine the dietary preference of pelicans when allowed to consume catfish and carp. For the 7-day metabolism trial pelicans were allotted to one of three treatment diets (4 birds/diet): catfish only,...

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...