Safety of feeding anadromous fish to polar bears


Reed H. 2005. Safety of feeding anadromous fish to polar bears. In Graffam W, Hellinga D, Maslanka M, Ward A, Eds. Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Omaha, NE.


Fish are a standard part of polar bear diets in zoos and aquaria. Though most fish are frozen and thawed for feeding, some institutions have access to fresh fish such as salmon and trout. Recently, animal managers have encouraged the feeding of live fish for enrichment purposes. In 1982 two polar bears living in a Pacific Northwest zoo were thought to have died of salmon poisoning. More recently, sun bears in a west coast zoo were treated for an active case of salmon poisoning. Concern for polar bear health has lead institutions to question the feeding of anadromous (fish that swim up stream) fish, like salmon and trout, which can carry the fluke and rickettsial organism responsible for the disease. Investigation of this issue has lead to new recommendations for feeding live or fresh anadromous fish from the Pacific Northwest to polar bears.

ReedFishFINAL14Sept.05.pdf     61 KB

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