Livingston S, Renjifo A, Valdes E. 2007. Predicting nutrient values of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In Ward A, Hunt A, Maslanka M, Eds. Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Knoxville, TN.
From May to December each year, the African elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom receive elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) as a significant portion of their diet. Near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) is used to quickly predict the nutrient quality of the forage. Samples of elephant grass have been collected since 2003 and used to develop calibration equations. As more samples are added to the calibration sets, the NIRS is able to more accurately predict the levels of certain organic nutrients in the forage. Prediction of levels of ADF, NDF and fat improved when compared to previous calibrations with fewer samples. As more samples are collected and added to the calibration equations, it is expected that the ability of NIRS to accurately predict nutrient levels in Pennisetum purpureum will continue to improve.Livingston – elephant grass.pdf     1 MB