Study of calcium metabolism in captive elephants by means of feeding trail

Hypocalcemia in elephants is a concern that needs attention. Cases of calcium-responsive dystocia have been reported anecdotally and the number of bone fractures in hospitalized working elephants in Thailand is relatively high. A feeding trial in 4 Asian elephants at the Rotterdam zoo showed that an increase in the calcium concentration of the roughage resulted in a significant rise in...

Influence of diet on serum chemistry values in captive giraffe over four years

Over the past several years, herbivore diet formulations have transitioned toward lower starch and sugar and higher concentrations of structural carbohydrates such as neutral detergent fiber. Following the Giraffe Nutrition Workshop in 2005, recommendations were released that encouraged diets containing less than 5% starch and less than 0.5% phosphorus for captive giraffe. In December 2005, seven giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)...

Normal serum vitamin E values in giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

Baseline serum alpha-tocopherol (alpha-toc) values in captive giant anteaters have not previously been defined. Cats and dogs are typical models for carnivore nutritional physiology and may prove useful for evaluating vitamin E (vit E) nutrition in zoo carnivores. The objective of this study was to determine serum alpha-toc as a measure of vit E status in captive anteaters, for comparison...

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...

Survey of nutrient concentrations in the diet, serum, and urine of giraffe maintained in North American zoos

In order to elucidate the causes of urolithiasis in giraffe, a comprehensive survey was initiated in September 2004 of giraffe within North American zoological institutions. Giraffe feeding practices and medical histories were examined, and holding institutions were recruited to submit samples of feeds, water, serum, urine and feces, and asked to participate in a feeding trial.

Cholesterol concentrations in free-ranging gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and (Gorilla beringei) and Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus)

Cholesterol concentrations in captive gorillas and orangutans vary widely within species and average approximately 244 mg/dl for gorillas and 169 mg/dl for orangutans as previously published. The International Species Inventory System reports higher concentrations of 275 and 199 mg/dl for gorillas and orangutans, respectively. It is unknown if these values were typical and/or were influenced by captive management. To answer...

A retrospective study evaluating vitamin E supplementation in pelicans and plasma alpha-tocopherol concentrations in pelicans, storks, and flamingos

A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of two vitamin E supplement forms in pink-backed pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens). The forms were a paste supplying 100 IU vitamin E daily or a capsule supplying 10.5 IU vitamin E daily. Baseline blood alpha-tocopherol concentrations were 7.15 ug/ml in 1998. After 10 months receiving vitamin E in the capsule form, the...

An update on giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) response to dietary fiber form and carbohydrate profile: implications for animal health

An experimental coarse browser supplement (EF) and a mixture of 75% Mazuri Browser Breeder and 25% Omelene 200 (GF) were used to evaluate the effects of dietary physical form and carbohydrate profile on six non-lactating adult female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) in a modified reversal study using seven 21 day periods. Individually housed giraffe were fed ad libitum alfalfa hay,...

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,...

Dietary husbandry of captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Northern USA and Canada must consider effects of daylength, age, and gender on tissue energy reserves

The effects of age, season, and gender on live body weights, lipogenesis and lipolysis in subcutaneous and perirenal adipose tissues, and weight and fat (ether extract) concentrations of skeletal muscles and viscera were studied in 48 captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fed a complete diet ad libitum. Food intake, rates of lipogenesis, and accumulation of fat in skeletal muscle and...

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...

Nutritional ecology of North American bears

North American brown (Ursus arctos) and black bears (U. americanus) are well known for undergoing major seasonal physiological and nutritional cycles. These cycles can include switching from herbivory to carnivory, from ingesting diets with minimal protein (e.g., fruit) to diets that are primarily protein (e.g., meat), from fasting during the 5 or 6 months of hibernation to daily food intakes...

Nutrition and immunity: vitamins and minerals

Infectious diseases impinge on animal health and welfare. Appropriate nutrition may aid in minimizing the incidence of infectious diseases by optimizing immunity. Formulating diets that optimize immunity requires knowing the specific cellular mechanisms by which nutrients affect immunity, and how these mechanisms pertain to specific nutrients and pathogens. Understanding the nuances of nutrition and immunity is important because higher dietary...

Influence of diet on characteristics of nutrient digestion in fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)

Few data are available regarding the nutrition of fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) in captivity. Cryptoprocta ferox are one of few carnivore species endemic to the island of Madagascar, found in woodlands or savannas. Although considered opportunistic carnivores, lemur species constitute a significant portion of the fossa diet. Average body lengths of fossa, range from 65-80 cm in addition to a 60-80...

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...

WHY THE NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF THE DIET OF BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS) IS BEST ASSESSED ON AN ENERGY BASIS RATHER THAN A DRY MATTER BASIS

Dietary nutrients can be compared in three ways: ‘as fed’, or relative to either dry matter or energy content. Most published literature that evaluates the diet of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, compares nutrient content relative to dry matter, but dolphins consume a diet of whole fish and invertebrates that varies in fat and water content and energy density. The quantity...

MODELING INDIVIDUAL ENERGY STATUS FOR IMPROVED ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

Energy use may represent the most direct gauge of physiological activity and thus relative nutrient requirements, however nutrient requirements are generally reported relative to intake or bodyweight, assumptions which make it difficult to confidently estimate nutrient targets for individuals and species. Managing energy balance in captive exotic animals is even more challenging due to the limitations of their environment including...

INTAKE AND GROWTH RATES OF THREE PASSERINE SPECIES AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

Whenever possible, avian parents are tasked with raising their young. Occasionally circumstances dictate that young are pulled for hand rearing. Protocols are in place for different species that indicate food items and amounts to feed as well as developmental indicators and husbandry parameters. Avian species have different diets as adults but many utilize similar food items to feed their young....

THE INTERACTION OF DIET AND FECAL CORTISOL IN THE SOUTHERN WHITE RHINOCEROS (CERATOTHERIUM SIMUM SIMUM)

Adverse physiological effects due to external and internal stimuli, such as diet, metabolism and environment, may contribute to the low captive reproductive success rate of the Southern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). The objective of this study was to examine fecal cortisol response in the Southern White Rhinoceros population at the North Carolina Asheboro Zoo while consuming four different pelleted...

CASE STUDY: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEIGHT GAIN AND OFFSPRING SEX IN AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA AFRICANA) AT THE SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK

Facing a male biased offspring sex ratio (7:4) in the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) population at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (SP), the overall weight and weight gain of the breeding females was analyzed and the weight gain prior to calf conception was determined. The breeding females arrived at the SP heavier than similarly aged Zambian female...

Basics of ruminant animal nutrition

Cellulose is the main constituent of plant cell walls and is the most abundant carbohydrate on earth. With exception of some snails and arthropods, animals lack the necessary enzymes for the digestion of cellulose. Bacteria and fungi are the main cellulose digesters. Animals have coevolved with their feeds, and by different strategies, herbivores use plants as source of most nutrients....

Effect of nutrition on the reproductive fitness of the endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken

Attwater’s Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) are an endangered Texan grouse species. Their survival relies on captive breeding for propagation of the free-ranging population. In recent years, chick hatchability and survivability in captivity has steadily decreased, with survivability in 2004 less than 30%. Preliminary data obtained in 2004 from captive and free ranging Attwater’s Prairie Chickens, demonstrated potential differences in...

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...

Serum fatty acids concentrations in free-ranging and captive giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis)

Serum concentrations of fatty acids in captive giraffes were compared to values obtained from free-ranging giraffes in an effort to identify potential nutritional differences in the captive population. Captive giraffes have a specific set of maladies, including peracute mortality, energy malnutrition, pancreatic disease, urolithiasis, hoof disease, and severe intestinal parasitism that may be nutritionally related. Serum samples from 20 captive...

Nutrient composition of whole crayfish eaten by hellbender salamanders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis spp.)

Four species of native Missouri crayfish identified as foods of the Ozark hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi), were analyzed for nutrient content including water, proximate composition (crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and ash), as well as vitamin A, vitamin E, total carotenoids, and select mineral concentrations. Additionally, fatty acids in crayfish were examined and compared with krill as a...

Investigations into the nutritional composition of moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita

Proximate nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins A and E, and mineral composition of the moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, were measured in wild specimens from Jamaica Bay, NY, and in captive cultured specimens from the New York Aquarium (reported as mean ± SE). Crude protein content of free-ranging jellyfish was approximately twice that seen in captive animals (9.20% ± 0.40% dry matter (DM)...

Nutritional physiology of captive fishes

Managing the health of captive fishes requires broad knowledge of environmental, physiological, and nutritional requirements for life in an aquatic realm, something no human being can fully appreciate. In spite of our lack of experience living in an aquatic environment, we can successfully manage the nutritional well-being of captive fishes. In fact, the fundamental requirements of life differ little from...

The effect of fish analog diet on beluga whale (Delpinapterus leucas) health and body condition

In zoos and aquariums the staple diet for marine mammals is freshly thawed, previously frozen fish and squid. Feeding a variety of fish to captive piscivores can be a major challenge to institutions, due to cost and availability thereby making a readily available prepared fish analogbased diet very appealing. Past studies feeding the Mazuri® fish analog product (PMI IntI, St....

Influence of diet transition on serum calcium and phosphorus in captive giraffe

Pathology in captive giraffe is relatively common and has often been attributed to nutritional causes. It was hypothesized that reducing dietary starch and phosphorus (P) would change serum mineral concentrations to be more in line with typical mammalian values. Captive giraffe (n=6, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha NE), previously fed a commercially available diet, were transitioned to a reduced starch diet...

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.