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

Evolution of diets for Herbivorous and Omnivorous Reptiles at the Philadelphia Zoo: From Mystery Toward Science

At the Philadelphia Zoo the diets for herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles evolved over a period of years. Prior to 1992. the diets had been formulated solely by the former curator. Analysis of the general salad fed to smaller species of herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles (Animal Nutritionist – N-2) indicated unbalanced levels of fat-soluble vitamins. In addition. one of the salad’s...

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...

Calcium gut loading of mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) and the benefit of gel water over apple slices for maximum calcium gut loading

The importance of gut loading insects with calcium is a critical component of an insectivorous animal’s diet. The insect used in this study for calcium supplementation was the regular mealworm (Tenebrio molitor). The standard operating procedure for most gut loading protocols includes feeding high-water produce items (i.e., apples, leafy green vegetables, etc.) in conjunction with a high calcium insect supplement....

THE INTERACTION BETWEEN VARIATION IN DIGESTIVE EFFICIENCY, VITAMIN D STATUS, CALCIUM METABOLOISM, AND BONE DENSITY IN COMMON MARMOSETS (CALLITHRIX JACCHUS)

Despite its long history of captive management, nutrition and dietary husbandry of common marmosets remains a major concern among colony managers in the United States (2004 survey by the Marmoset Research Group of the Americas). Nutrient requirements for the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) are poorly characterized, and dietary husbandry of this species has been informed more by practical and anecdotal...

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...

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...

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 browse to large zoo herbivores: How much is “A lot”, How much is “Sufficient”?

Diet evaluations in captive browsers are often confounded by the fact that the amount of browse offered is difficult to quantify, especially if whole branches are fed. For a diet survey in captive moose (Alces alces), we established correlations between the diameter at point of cutting of a branch and the amount of foliage and edible twigs on it.

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...

Financial aspects of zoo diet management

Food purchases tend to be one of the greatest expenses, beyond salaries and benefits, for the maintenance of any zoo collection. For this reason, the commissary/food budget is one that receives a lot of attention during the budget planning process. Upon each accreditation inspection, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) requires proof of financial stability, including insurance coverage, evidence...

Normal urinary mineral excretion levels in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

Metabolic bone disease has occurred in several incidences of elephant neonates hand-reared on milk replacement formula. Monitoring for metabolic bone disease historically has been done through serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations. Serum concentrations are tightly regulated and changes in concentration are typically not evident until skeletal changes have already occurred. Urinary calcium and phosphorus excretion levels may provide earlier evidence...

Effect of additives on ensiling of willow leaves and twigs

According to Hoffman, ruminants can be classified as browsers (“concentrate selectors”), intermediate feeders, and grazers. Compared to grazers, browsers have different nutritional requirements to meet their specific digestive physiology needs. In general, browse may contain higher amounts of secondary plant compounds and lower fiber concentrations than many grasses. In Rotterdam Zoo, browse often consists of willow leaves and branches. However,...

Milk composition of the white rhinoceros (Cerathotherium simum) through the first year of lactation

Lactation is a fundamental adaptation of mammals with milk being the first food for all mammals and the diversity of mammals is reflected in the diversity of lactation strategies and in the composition of milks from different species (Hayssen 1992). Although all milks have the same basic nutrients in common, the proportion of fat, sugar, protein and minerals varies widely...

Normal serum vitamin E values in giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

Baseline serum alpha-tocopherol (alpha-toc) values in captive giant anteaters have not previously been defined. Cats and dogs are typical models for carnivore nutritional physiology and may prove useful for evaluating vitamin E (vit E) nutrition in zoo carnivores. The objective of this study was to determine serum alpha-toc as a measure of vit E status in captive anteaters, for comparison...

Macronutrient Selection in Mammalian Insectivores at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

This study determined macronutrient target of several mammalian insectivore species including 3-banded armadillo, aardvark, tamandua (lesser anteater), and greater anteater. These insectivores are often maintained on a commercial insectivore diet, which may or may not be appropriate for every species in this diverse and polyphyletic group. Animals were fed three experimental diets that varied in their proportions of calories from...

Growth curves and their implications in hand-rearing monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus)

Monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus) were hand-reared over two chick seasons spanning from 2010-2011. Information on the growth curve of chicks hand-raised in 2010 was used to develop a feeding protocol for the 2011 season. This protocol was focused to address the problem areas of delayed growth and then excessive growth experienced by the baby parrots hand-reared in 2010. The 2011...

Evaluating a Submersible Diet for Ducks and Other Species

The use of an alginate-calcium complex to formulate a durable submersible diet was evaluated in a feeding trial with growing ducklings. Growth, feed intake (FI), gain:feed ratio (GF), dry matter digestibility, metabolizable energy (ME), nitrogen-corrected ME and excreta moisture did not differ between birds fed a commercial 22% crude protein duck starter diet and those fed the same diet incorporating...

Feed regulations and quality control in the feed industry

The impact of state and federal regulations and internal quality control in the manufacture of quality animal feed is substantial. First, federal and state governments are responsible for administration of feed laws, in order to protect the consumer and the manufacturer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates animal feed under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. State Departments of...

Testing a vitamin supplement paste in Jackass Penguins (Spheniscus demersus)

According to the literature, piscivorous species fed dead, frozen fish in zoos have been shown to require supplemental vitamin E and thiamin (Engelhardt and Geraci, 1978, Robbins, 1993). The Rotterdam Zoo supplemented jackass penguins (Spheniscus demersus) with extra vitamins since 1991 by injecting liquid vitamins into the defrosted pilchards (Sardina pilchardus), mackerel (Scomber scombrus) and herring (Clupea harangus) fed to...

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)...

Napoleon didn’t conquer Europe by feeding his army rotten tomatoes or how to get the most from your produce investment

Proper handling and storage of produce items can increase shelf life thus positively impacting budget. At the Saint Louis Zoo we have tried various approaches to storage and have a system that works well for us. From which items to hold in the Kitchen area and to which produce items to hold in the cooler and the storage method that extends product integrity,...

Which way forward for European zoo nutrition?

There are approximately 1000 zoos in Europe ranging from large, extensive zoos to smaller private collections. Of these, 256 are members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquarium (EAZA). EAZA is involved in all aspects of maintaining animals in captivity in zoos and aquarium, including the conservation of threatened species. Just as AZA has established Species Survival Plan (SSP)...

Application of existing domestic animal condition scoring systems for captive (zoo) animals

Quantifying body weight of captive wild animals has become one common assessment tool for evaluating general health. Although body weight is a very useful measurement, for most zoo animals the average body weight for stages of growth, pregnancy, or maintenance have yet to be defined. Another concern is that using weight alone, as a means of determining proper conditioning, is...

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,...

Specialty animal feed manufacturing

For purposes of this talk, I will consider “specialty” feeds to be any animal diets other than the traditional agricultural (swine, poultry, cattle) or pet food (dog or cat) markets. This encompasses a broad range of terrestrial and aquatic animals, including birds, mammals, fish, crustaceans, and insects-each species with its own particular nutritional requirements.

Associations of Zoos & Aquarium’s animal care manuals: What is the nutrition advisory group’s role?

The Species Survival Plan ® (SSP) or Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is responsible for creating and updating information on their prospective species. It is important to assemble this information in a systematic and consistent manner. In 2005, the Association of Zoo & Aquariums (AZA) created standardized guidelines. Considering the exact nutrient requirements of many exotic animals held in captivity are...

The effect of bamboo intake on fecal consistency in Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda Melanoleuca)

Although taxonomically classified as a carnivore, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) has evolved to consume a herbivorous diet consisting primarily of bamboo. Traditional captive feeding strategies have not reflected the natural diet and instead combined readily digested animal products and high-starch grain mixtures fed with variable amounts of bamboo. Improper nutritional management may lead to gastrointestinal disorders, often manifested as...