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.

A comparative study of blood lipids, electrolytes, and stress levels between captive and semi-captive orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) under tropical conditions

Blood samples were collected from 27 orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) (14 captive and 13 semicaptive) and were analyzed for triglycerides, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC), sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, glucose, Cortisol levels, total white blood cells (WBC) and WBC differential count. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in total cholesterol and HDLC level between...

Are super dose concentrations of vitamin E really necessary for reproduction in birds?

Vitamin E requirements for exotic avian species remain undetermined and await investigation. As a result, diets formulated for captive exotic birds rely on the development of target ranges and feeding guidelines in order to minimize the risk of developing deficiencies and/or toxicities. These target ranges are commonly based on the requirements of domestic poultry, with the addition of calculation factors...

Feeding the immune system: energy and protein needs for immunocompetence

The immune system utilizes a combination of constitutive and adaptive mechanisms that interact with one another to protect the host from microorganisms and infectious disease. Constitutive defenses of the innate immune system consist of effector cells, such as monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils, along with mucosal and epithelial barriers, secretions and plasma acute phase proteins. The innate immune system is capable of...

Fiber digestibility in black lemurs (Eulemur Macaco Macaco)

Black lemurs are classified as generalist feeders, existing on both fruits and leaves depending upon seasonal availability. In captivity they are typically fed a diet of commercially manufactured primate biscuits and readily available produce, both of which are limited in fermentable fiber. Digestibility trials were conducted on fourteen black lemurs, housed in 4 groups (4, 3, 3 & 2) and...

Plasma electrolyte concentration for African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) and their relationship to habitat type and salt supplementation

African penguins are common display animals in North American zoos and aquariums. At present 43 American Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) accredited institutions, maintaining over 700 African penguins, participate in a species survival plan (SSP) for this species. There are currently some institutions that maintain their birds in freshwater without salt supplementation. No associated health issues have been reported by these...

Dietary intake and digestion in snow leopards (Uncia uncia) at the Bronx Zoo

Although the nutritional requirements of the domestic cat are well known and various investigations have been conducted with larger exotic felids no published information on digestion in snow leopards, Uncia uncia, is available. Two three-day intake and digestion trials were conducted on 4.6 adult (ages 3-15 years) captive-born snow leopards at the Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY in December, 1996. Routine...

Comparison of parathyroid hormone, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in serum and urine of nyala (Tragelaphus angassi) on concentrates or a forage only diet

The nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) herd at Busch Gardens Tampa has historically had one of the highest incidences of Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, Mptb) within the collection. A 10-yr epidemiologic review at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay revealed 27/83 (32.5%) Mptb culture positive individuals. At the time of this trial, 20/21 positive animals were also noted to be hypocalcemia. It was...

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.

Serum survey of Vitamins A and E in Sharks

Although sharks are known to have unique aspects of lipid metabolism, fat-soluble vitamin concentrations have not been widely reported in the literature. Serum or plasma samples were obtained from eight species of sharks: black-tipped (Carcharhinus brevipinna; n=1), bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo; n=7), brown (C. plumbeus; n=16), bull (C. leucas; n=14), lemon (Negaprion brevirostis; n=30), nurse (Ginglymostoma cirratum; n=14), sand tiger (Carcharias...

Intake and digestion in babirusa (Babyousa babyrussa) and red river hogs (Potamochoerus poreus) fed high fiber diets

Previous studies suggest that fiber-digestion capacity of exotic swine species has not been challenged in captive feeding programs. Zoo diets are often low in dietary fiber, which may contribute to obesity, with accompanying joint and possible reproductive problems. Five-day feeding trials were conducted with 3 adult (2.1) babirusa (BAB) (Babyrousa babyrussa) housed separately, and 2 (1.1) adult red river hogs...

Nutrient composition of American flamingo crop milk

Crop milk samples (30 mL) were collected from juvenile (6-7 wks old) American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber, n = 14) in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve (El Cuyo, Mexico) on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The samples were analyzed for dry matter, crude protein, fat, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, molybdenum, zinc), vitamin A,...

Summary of mineral and iron binding polyphenolic plant compound levels in diets offered captive black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in 3 zoos and 1 ranch in Texas

Hemosiderosis is commonly noted in captive black rhinoceros but not free-ranging animals. Animals held in a ranch setting, offered a diet containing at least 46% browse on a dry matter basis, do not experience the same health problems as animals in zoos. It is known that plants contain polyphenolic compounds that can bind iron and make it unavailable for absorption....

CD-ROM teaching unit on the digestive system of vertebrates

The present-day vertebrates are comprised of approximately 45,000 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals that have adapted to a wide-range of freshwater, marine, and terrestrial habitats. Their digestive system provides for the assimilation of the energy and nutrients required for maintenance, growth, and reproduction. This is accomplished by complex series of episodic events that reduce food to a...

Nutritional status in captive Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncates)

Nutritional status of captive dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) was examined using biochemical analysis. Voluntary blood samples, obtained from four healthy captive bottlenose dolphins at Brookfield Zoo, were analyzed for vitamin D metabolites [25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D], lipids (total cholesterol, triacylglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol), and fatty acids. Fish fed to these dolphins were analyzed for dry matter, crude protein, fat, energy, vitamin D,...

Effect of diet on body composition and growth parameters in juvenile seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) at the Toronto Zoo

To date, all information on the feeding of seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) is contained in fish hobbyist magazines emphasizing acceptance of feed rather than its nutritive value. The juvenile stage is most critical in seahorse development and the most problematic in terms of feeding. This study compared the effects of two typical diets, Neomysis integer and Mysis relicta, on the body...

The effects of fiber type and fiber levels on digestibility and volatile fatty acid formation in the Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

The diets of free-ranging orangutans are high in structural cell wall material, which comprises the fiber fraction in plants [Hamilton and Galdikas, 1994]. Microbial populations residing in the hindgut accomplish fiber digestion via fermentation. Animals use volatile fatty acids, end products of fiber fermentation, as a source of energy. Readily available produce items contain small amounts of fermentable fiber [Schmidt...

Nutrition of the enigmatic browser: Comparative bioenergetics, digestion and feeding of northern versus tropical ungulates

Wild ungulates use time, habitat, and food in complex ways in relation to social, security, comfort, and bioenergetic needs to optimization fitness from decisions during day-to-day living. Species in highly seasonal environments experience changes in nutritional requirements in association with adaptations to quality and quantity of available food. Evolutionary implications are closely tied to seasonal bioenergetic cycles and become extremely...