Nutrient composition of savannahs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge


Livingston S, Renjifo A, Valdes E. 2007. Nutrient composition of savannahs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. In Ward A, Hunt A, Maslanka M, Eds. Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Knoxville, TN.


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Lake Buena Vista Florida is home to a wide variety of animal species. Rooms at the Lodge look out over three savannah areas housing a collection of African animals. In spring 2006, a comprehensive investigation into the nutrient composition of the savannahs at the Lodge was initiated. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) and limpograss (Hemarthria altissima) were the most commonly encountered plant species. While there were definite changes in nutrient levels observed during the study period, the majority do not appear to be related to any specific seasonal event. Crude protein levels of all savannahs showed a similar trend from February 2006 to May 2007. All three savannahs had crude protein levels around 12% (dry matter basis) in March 2006 increasing to around 20% by April 2007, then back to 15% by the end of May 2007. Acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) levels tended to be fairly equal between the three areas. NDF values stayed fairly constant around 70% in all three savannahs. ADF values decreased across all three areas over the course of the study, as did lignin values. Starch values remained fairly consistent over all savannahs during the study period. Non fiber carbohydrate (NFC) values were much more variable during the study, yet each savannah again tended to follow a similar pattern. Mineral values varied throughout the study period, but did not show any obvious seasonal trends. Levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium were within the maintenance requirements of beef cattle, sheep, horses and other ungulate herbivores. Potassium levels however far exceeded amounts required for maintenance and may be an area of concern due to the potential interference with other minerals such as magnesium. Combined with the nutrient content of the animals’ prepared diet, the information gathered can be used to better manage the diets of the animals living on the savannahs of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.


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