Toronto Zoo Announces ZWNF Resident
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

Effect of dietary nutrient level and source on feeder mouse nutrient composition

Whole prey items may contain lower nutrient levels than desired for feeding exotic carnivores. The purpose of this trial was to gather preliminary data on the effect of different dietary treatments on the nutrient composition of mice at various ages. Dietary enrichment with vitamin E and chelated minerals in general did not improve total body levels of most nutrients, but...

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...

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.

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...

Evaluating gut-loading diets and dusting to improve the calcium concentration of pin-head and adult crickets (Acheta domesticus)

Four experiments were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of dusting crickets with calcium carbonate versus feeding a custom or commercial high-calcium diet on the calcium and phosphorus concentration of pin-head (13.7 mg) and juvenile (320.9 mg) crickets. Crickets were housed in 37.9 L aquariums, provided with water and egg crates for hiding, maintained on a 12 h light: 12 h...

The good, the bad and the ugly: Feedstuff evaluation and quality control

Overall diet quality is controlled by the quality of the individual items that comprise the diet. This seems intuitively obvious, but is “easier said than done” when it is applied to zoo diets. Usually we use multiple items in combination (complete feeds, produce, meat, fish, whole prey, etc.) to meet the nutrient needs of the animals in our care, and...

Biochemical and physiological observations in meerkats (Suricata suricatta) at two zoos during dietary transition to a diet designed for insectivores

These studies assess the short-term and long-term effects of a commercially available manufactured diet (Mazuri® Insectivore, PMI Nutrition International, P.O. Box 66812, St. Louis, MO 63166-6812) intended for the feeding of insectivorous animals. The initial study evaluated palatability of the diet and the maintenance of health in captive meerkats over a 6-week period.

Utilization of zoo interns

The field of nutrition in the zoo community is still in its infancy with many an unsolved riddle lying ahead. One tool that has been effective in aiding the collection of nutritional information has been a collaborative internship program between the Denver Zoological Gardens and Colorado State University .The internship program allows nutritionally-related projects to be completed at little cost,...

Interpreting vitamins and mineral concentrations in serum of exotic species: lab values are not infallible

The prospect of trust and laboratory analysis is often so frightening a concept, scientists in the zoo field, including nutritionists and veterinarians, do not discuss it as more than a side note. Often we trust that specialists in biochemistry and new analysis technologies ensure proper verification of lab methodology, and would inform the consumer of any difficulties or questionable data....

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,...

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...

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...

Milk composition of the bongo antelope (Tragelaphus eurycerus) through lactation

Bongo antelopes (Tragelaphus eurycerus) are a species of antelope that originate from Africa. The gestation length is about 285 days. Bongo antelope calves weigh about 20 kg when born. Adult females weigh between 210-230 kg, while adult males weigh 240-270 kg. Young reach sexual maturity when approximately two years old. The milk samples used in this study were part of...

BIOACTIVE FACTORS IN MILK: COMPARISONS ACROSS NONHUMAN PRIMATES AND HUMANS

Milk is not just a food, but also a means by which mammalian mothers signal biochemically to their offspring. Milk contains a host of signaling molecules that influence growth and development of offspring. Some of these signaling molecules have been implicated as risk factors or as being protective against the early development of metabolic diseases in humans, such as obesity...

Leadbeater’s possum: Nutritional and environmental challenges of captive possums in eight zoos

Eight zoos participated in a retrospective study by providing diets, post mortems (n = 75) and management practices for captive Leadbeater’s possums (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri). Data was analyzed for correlation of common factors in the morbidity and mortality of captive possums. The results suggest nutritional factors common to most zoos which may play a role in the morbidity and mortality of...

BODY CONDITION SCORING INDEX FOR FEMALE AFRICAN ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA) VALIDATED WITH ULTRASOUND MEASUREMENTS OF SUBCUTANEOUS FAT

A major problem of zoo African elephants is ovarian acyclicity, which preliminary studies suggest may be related to obesity. To test this relationship, methods to accurately quantify body condition and obesity in elephants are warranted. Body condition scoring (BCS), an indirect means of measuring body condition based on visual evaluation of subcutaneous fat and key skeletal elements, has become an...

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,...

Hypomagnesemia, hypocalcemia, and ruminitis in ungulates: an under-recognized syndrome?

Macro- and microminerals are critical in maintaining normal physiologic processes. Requirements for domestic ungulates have been documented and are available through the National Research Council (NRC). Normal values have not been established for most wildlife species. Due to specialized feeding habits, collection of baseline data for each species is needed to develop complete diets and detect nutritional diseases. Several cases...

Zoo animal nutrition matrix

Providing optimal nutrition by developing an appropriate diet for captive exotic animals is complex. The complexity arises from the many factors that must be considered that may affect the final diet. The zoo animal nutrition matrix was developed to provide those new to developing captive exotic animal diets a guide to affecting factors and to illustrate to all in the...

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....

Complications associated with diet manipulation in callimico (Callimico goeldii)

The diet traditionally fed to Callimico goeldii in North American institutions has included a canned, nutritionally complete food combined with fruits, vegetables and insects. There has been a long-standing question as to whether the diet could be contributing to health issues in this species, particularly renal disease. Although, no direct correlation between the diet and renal disease has been documented,...

Ideal protein and zoo carnivores: further considerations for optimizing diets

Carnivorous zoo species are often fed “natural product” diets, i.e. raw meat-based meals for large felids, whole vertebrate prey, entire fish for aquatic or otherwise piscivorous species, and/or a variety of invertebrates consumed by insectivores. In general, these types of diets contain relative excess protein compared to nutritional requirements established for domestic cats and dogs, (NRC, 2006) or production species...

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...

Hemochromatosis (Iron Storage Disease) in Fruit Bats

Six Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) were either found dead or presented with chronic liver disease associated with accumulations of iron (Fe) within the liver as high as 2.3% dry weight. Two other fruit bat species, the Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) and the grey- headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), also had elevated liver Fe levels but without clinical evidence...

Metabolic Bone Disease in lizards: Prevalence and potential for monitoring bone health

A consensus that metabolic bone disease (MBD) is the nutritional pathology (NP) most likely to occur in captive lizards was apparent in a study at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital (OVCTH) and in two surveys on NP in accredited zoos in Canada and the United States. The prevalence, pathogensis and diagnosis of MBD relative to the OVCTH and zoological...

Useful references in zoo and wildlife nutrition

Zoo and wildlife nutritionists apply their nutrition expertise daily to a variety of situations, ranging from the most applied to the most basic. These include commissary operation, inventory maintenance, staff direction, laboratory management, diet formulation and evaluation, consultations with other zoo personnel and other zoos, and budget supervision. Beyond this, they interact with professionals on topics outside of their profession,...

Assessment of leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) scent preference

It is suggested tortoises are attracted to certain ingredient scents. The preference for scent of ginger, anise, rose, and a control (water) among leopard tortoises was evaluated. Sixteen leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis) participated in a series of trials exposing them to pair-wise combinations of the three scents and control. Response criteria evaluated include position (left, right, no decision) and scent...

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,...

Modifying avian feeding strategies to provide foraging opportunity, allow for contrafreeloading and improve the health of collection birds

The Philadelphia Zoological Gardens opened its gates to the public in 1874. At that time, zoo animals rarely survived more than several years in their captive environments. Little was known about the natural diet and behaviors of these wild animals, and keepers typically provided their charges with a variety of inappropriate food items. Nutrition programs for zoo animals simply did...

Food safety training for keepers in decentralized zoo kitchens

A food safety program was developed for training keepers in a decentralized zoo kitchen system. Instruction covered food safety standards of the state of Illinois; reviewed information regarding USDA and AZA food safety standards; and provided keepers with action-based steps they could take to prevent food safety concerns. In addition, lead keepers had separate sessions to ensure food safety standards...