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

Differences in gut microflora between captive and wild birds: Are we getting the captive balance right?

The microbiota of the vertebrate gastrointestinal tract consists of a diverse collection of microbial species. In the past, identification of these species has involved cultivation-based techniques. However, due to the dependence upon bacteria-specific media during cultivation, up to 80% of species may not have been identified using these techniques. To overcome this bias, a DNA-based technique of identifying microbial communities...

Bamboo as a year-round forage source

Bamboo is a rapidly renewable, nutritionally stable, and in most cases, evergreen forage. Although only rivercane (Arundinaria gigantica) is native to North America, bamboo enthusiasts have imported hundreds of varieties adapted to a wide range of climates and growing zones. We have conducted macronutrient analysis on eleven temperate species collected across all seasons and have analyzed for dry matter, ash,...

Feeding the immune system: energy and protein needs for immunocompetence

The immune system utilizes a combination of constitutive and adaptive mechanisms that interact with one another to protect the host from microorganisms and infectious disease. Constitutive defenses of the innate immune system consist of effector cells, such as monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils, along with mucosal and epithelial barriers, secretions and plasma acute phase proteins. The innate immune system is capable of...

Do maintenance energy requirements of felids reflect their feeding strategies?

Maintenance energy (ME)requirements have been determined for the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus, but not for larger felids. To determine if the domestic cat represents an appropriate model for studies with larger species, we measured digestive efficiency and digestible energy intakes in cats of different body sizes (body mass range: 15-195 kg)which included clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa (n = 9),...

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...

Effect of dietary fiber concentration on apparent digestibility and digesta passage in non-human primates. I. Ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegate variegate and V. v. ruba)

Two test diets with different fiber concentrations (15% acid detergent fiber [ADF], 30% ADF) were fed to five adult female ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata). Apparent digestibility (%) of dry matter (DM), gross energy (GE), and fiber components (neutral detergent fiber [NDF], ADF, hemicellulose [HC], and cellulose [C]) were measured. Rates of digesta transit (TT1) and retention time (RGIT) were assessed...

Implementing “green business” practices at the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo has a long history of community involvement and paving the way for environmentally friendly practices in the Santa Barbara area. The Zoo initiated the first community recycling program more than 20 years ago. In 2007 The Zoo created an in house peer-committee “Sustainable Operations Committee (Green Team)” to review and establish responsible environmentally responsible practices. The...

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....

Selecting Appropriate Markers for Digestibility Studies

Markers provide a method for indirect quantitation of digestive parameters. Gastrointestinal physiology and kinetics show a tremendous variation among species that is undoubtedly a reflection of evolution and dietary adaptation. Therefore, markers used in nutrition research must be appropriately selected for each species and each circumstance. Markers serve to facilitate quantification of passage rate and digesta fill as well as...

Analysis of Fecal Glucocorticoid Concentration in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in Relation to Management and Nutritional Factors

Identifying relationships between management and nutrition factors related to the physiological needs of elephants under human care is vital for improving husbandry and welfare standards. This study consisted of 130 African (Loxodonta africana) and 104 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants housed in 65 separate facilities throughout North America. Fecal samples were obtained every other week for 12 months and analyzed for...

Continuing Assessment of Vitamin Analysis Reliability Across Laboratories: Examples in White and Black Rhino Species

As part of an ongoing assessment of vitamin E supplementation in white and black rhino species (2017 – 2018) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the first 6 months of assessment utilized 2 laboratories (A and B) for vitamin E analysis in split serum samples, and 2 laboratories (C and D) for vitamin E analysis in split fecal samples.  In both species...

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...

Diet-induced diabetes in captive plains viscachas (Lagostomus maximus)

Plains viscachas (Lagostomus maximus) are large, nocturnal rodents that inhabit the pampas of Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. They are considered to feed on poor quality food in the wild: grass, forbs and bushes. Plains viscachas have been kept and bred at Zurich Zoo since 1964 and have shown the tendency to develop a type II diabetes mellitus, which was supposedly...

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...

Variation in voluntary intake of feeds by captive giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis): Implications for meeting nutrient requirements

Data prompting evaluation of captive giraffe feed selection were obtained from a modified reversal study investigating the effects of dietary physical form and carbohydrate profile. Six non-lactating adult female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) were used in seven 21-day periods. Supplements were: an experimental non-pelleted browser supplement (EF) and a mixture of 75% Mazuri Browser Breeder (PMI Nutrition International, LLC, Brentwood,...

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...

Total Fecal Collection and Acid-Insoluble Ash as Measures of Dry Matter Digestibility by Kowari (Dasyuriodes brynei)

Comparisons were made between the total fecal collection and acid-insoluble ash (AIA) natural marker methods for determining dry matter digestibility (DMD) coefficients of rations for Kowari (Dasyuriodes brynei) at the Metro Toronto Zoo (MTZ). Two rations were evaluated separately in trials of 5 to 7 days duration; a ground mice diet (2 trials) and a plain carnivore mix diet (4...

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...

Fatty acid status of free-ranging and captive wildlife – a literature survey

In human nutrition, the discrepancy between the fatty acid (FA) status of people from “original” and “civilised” living conditions is interpreted as a major contributing factor to “civilisation-related” diseases. People from “civilised” living conditions are often characterised by a low status of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), particularly of n-3 PUFA, and a low unsaturation index (UI); the proportion of n-6...

Summary of mineral and iron binding polyphenolic plant compound levels in diets offered captive black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in 3 zoos and 1 ranch in Texas

Hemosiderosis is commonly noted in captive black rhinoceros but not free-ranging animals. Animals held in a ranch setting, offered a diet containing at least 46% browse on a dry matter basis, do not experience the same health problems as animals in zoos. It is known that plants contain polyphenolic compounds that can bind iron and make it unavailable for absorption....

Does B vitamin supplementation increase survival or weight gain stranded California sea lions

When pinnipeds enter a rehabilitation facility, they have often fasted for an unknown period of time and are nutritionally deficient. They often are then fed dead fish. Certain species of fish are deficient in vitamin B1, or thiamine, as they contain thiaminases, enzymes which break down this vitamin after the fish have died. Deficiencies in these vitamins can result in...

Chemical analysis of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIR)

Samples of Pennisetum purpureum (PP) were collected weekly commencing the summer of 2002 and throughout the year 2003. This grass is used in the feeding enrichment program for the African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK). Samples were submitted to a laboratory where analyses of moisture, crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), fat...

Serum survey of Vitamins A and E in Sharks

Although sharks are known to have unique aspects of lipid metabolism, fat-soluble vitamin concentrations have not been widely reported in the literature. Serum or plasma samples were obtained from eight species of sharks: black-tipped (Carcharhinus brevipinna; n=1), bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo; n=7), brown (C. plumbeus; n=16), bull (C. leucas; n=14), lemon (Negaprion brevirostis; n=30), nurse (Ginglymostoma cirratum; n=14), sand tiger (Carcharias...

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....

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...