Assessing the Nutritional Welfare and Status of Animals
Mazuri Technical Associate Position Opening
Polar Bear Nutrition Guidelines
Fecal Condition Scoring Resource Center
Guidelines for the Humane and Ethical Acquisition and Management of Vertebrate Feeder Animals (Excluding Fish)
Body Condition Scoring Resource Center
Zoo Nutrition Myth: A fruit is a fruit

Zoo animal nutrition matrix

Providing optimal nutrition by developing an appropriate diet for captive exotic animals is complex. The complexity arises from the many factors that must be considered that may affect the final diet. The zoo animal nutrition matrix was developed to provide those new to developing captive exotic animal diets a guide to affecting factors and to illustrate to all in the...

“We’re gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse” or; contract purchasing

Purchasing contracts are an integral part of a Nutrition program’s procurement arsenal. Versatile and adaptive, they are one way to secure a consistent source and pricing of a product. However they can also be limiting and result in delivery of an inferior, albeit more economical, product. We will examine the advantages and disadvantages of contract purchasing and development of specification...

Effect of lutein supplementation on blood carotenoids and vitamins in a variety of marine mammals

Lutein, an oxygenated carotenoid concentrated in the retina in a variety of species, may enhance ocular health (Mares-Perlman et al., 2002). Given the high incidence of ocular pathology in captive marine mammals (Dunn et al., 1996), it was hypothesized that a lutein supplement may protect against some of these conditions. This trial examined the response of different marine mammals to...

Effect of Vitamin D3/ Ascorbic Acid Supplementation on Growth and Tibia Characteristics of Green Water Dragons (Physignathus cocincinus, Cuvier 1829)

A preliminary experiment was conducted to investigate the interactive effect of one level of a combined dose of vitamin D3/ascorbic acid (C) supplementation on growth performance and bone development in green water dragons (Physignathus cocincinus, Cuvier 1829) .Ten forty- seven day old female green water dragons obtained from one clutch of eggs were selected for this study. From birth to...

Metabolomics has great potential for clinical and nutritional care and research with exotic animals

This essay explores the potential of metabolomics for exotic animal research in a zoological setting. Metabolomics is a suite of analytical tools aimed at gaining a holistic understanding of animal metabolism without prior knowledge of the compounds to be measured. These metabolic fingerprints can be used to define normal metabolism for an unstudied species, to characterize the metabolic deviation of...

Impact of Removing Dietary Supplementation on Serum Nutrient Concentrations in a Managed Population of Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana)

The Walt Disney Company manages two distinct populations of female southern stingrays (Dasyatis americana) at The Seas, Orlando, FL, and at Castaway Cay, Bahamas. Stingrays are housed in artificial (Orlando) or natural (Bahamas) seawater.  We previously reported significant differences between these two populations based on eight years of routinely collected serum data.1 The aim of this study was to assess...

Milk composition of the reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)

Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are the most common subspecies of giraffe maintained in zoological institutions. The gestation length for a reticulated giraffe is about 455 days (15 months). Lactation in wild giraffes has been estimated to last 12-13 months. The milk samples used in this study were part of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s Milk Repository and had been...

Analysis of Fatty Acid Profiles in Eastern Box (Terrapene carolina carolina) and Common Snapping (Chelydra serpentine) Turtles for Wild and In-Human Care Environments

Diets of wild animals are often more diverse and offer higher concentrations of nutrients than those of animals’ in-human care (zoos, rehabilitation facilities, etc.). Managing wild animals within human care facilities is often necessary, and we hypothesized that chelonian dietary differences within circulating fatty acid profiles would be reflected in wild vs human care data. The current study examined the...

USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Guide

The purpose of the Animal Welfare Inspection Guide is to provide an aid for APHIS Animal Care personnel when inspecting USDA licensed and registered facilities. The Inspection Guide is not a regulation and does not rise to the level of policy. It serves as a tool to improve the quality and uniformity of inspections, documentation, and enforcement of the Animal...

The USDA recently released their latest guidelines for monitoring animal welfare.

Nutrient composition of savannahs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

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)...

Validation of techniques for elemental analysis in a zoo nutrition lab

Quantities of minerals in samples such as diets, excreta, and water are a key factor in identifying nutritional needs and thus are an important aspect of laboratory analyses. Perchloric acid digestion with atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS) has been a useful and valid method for quantification of physiological levels of minerals. However, recent technology has brought into consideration techniques such as...

Implications of Managing a Mother-Reared Orangutan Indoors During Early Infancy

In September, healthy male orangutan was born and raised by the dam at the National Zoological Park. However, due to enclosure limitations and timing of the year, the pair would have no access to the outdoor enclosure until May. Knowing that milk was not likely to contain biologically significant levels of vitamin D, and access to UV lighting was not...

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...

Comparison of diets fed to Southeast Asian colobines in North American and European zoos, with emphasis on temperate browse composition.

In May and June 1994 a survey of diets fed to captive southeast Asian colobines in European (n = 12) and North American (n = 9) zoos was conducted. Most diets were very complex, comprising an average of 25 ingredients; 149 different foods were listed in responses. Comparison of diets fed showed that European zoos feed a greater variety of...

Case Study: Elimination diet for a female orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus abelii) with digestive problems at the Toronto Zoo

Ramai (ISIS #20164) is a female Sumatran orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus abeiii) who was born at the Toronto Zoo on 4 October 1985. She was parent-reared, and currently weighs approximately 62 kg. Ramai has had a history of loose stool and skin problems. A fecal scoring chart was developed to illustrate the range of fecal consistency observed in orangutans at the...

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.

Interpreting vitamins and mineral concentrations in serum of exotic species: lab values are not infallible

The prospect of trust and laboratory analysis is often so frightening a concept, scientists in the zoo field, including nutritionists and veterinarians, do not discuss it as more than a side note. Often we trust that specialists in biochemistry and new analysis technologies ensure proper verification of lab methodology, and would inform the consumer of any difficulties or questionable data....

Chemical analysis of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIR)

Samples of Pennisetum purpureum (PP) were collected weekly commencing the summer of 2002 and throughout the year 2003. This grass is used in the feeding enrichment program for the African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK). Samples were submitted to a laboratory where analyses of moisture, crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), fat...

Palatability of bucker ensiled willow as a winter diet item for browsing herbivores

Browsing herbivores in zoological institutions may be severely limited in the amount of natural browse offered, especially in winter months, with implications for gastrointestinal and overall animal health. A large quantity of freshly cut willow browse (~6100 kg) was ensiled in June 2010 after chipping the product into a lined 15’ x 6’ x 6’ container with molasses (~4% of...

The interaction between factors that affect the daily time spent grazing by ruminants

The animal-plant interaction between grazing ruminants and the grasses and forbs that make up temperate pasture swards is complex. The interaction is ultimately expressed in each mouthful of herbage (bite) ingested by the grazing animal. Each bite is characterised by quantity (bite weight), quality (species composition, plant part, plant maturity), and the time taken to apprehend, crop, chew and swallow...

Implementing “green business” practices at the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo has a long history of community involvement and paving the way for environmentally friendly practices in the Santa Barbara area. The Zoo initiated the first community recycling program more than 20 years ago. In 2007 The Zoo created an in house peer-committee “Sustainable Operations Committee (Green Team)” to review and establish responsible environmentally responsible practices. The...

Influence of diet and time on fat and retinol concentrations in adult feeder crickets

Many captive amphibians are fed supplemented crickets (Acheta domesticus) as a basal diet. There is concern that some amphibians have unique requirements for certain vitamins, particularly vitamin A due to its association with squamous metaplasia of mucous producing epithelia, resulting in inability to capture prey. Because vitamin A is fat soluble, it was hypothesized that increasing fat concentration of crickets...

Selecting Appropriate Markers for Digestibility Studies

Markers provide a method for indirect quantitation of digestive parameters. Gastrointestinal physiology and kinetics show a tremendous variation among species that is undoubtedly a reflection of evolution and dietary adaptation. Therefore, markers used in nutrition research must be appropriately selected for each species and each circumstance. Markers serve to facilitate quantification of passage rate and digesta fill as well as...

Prevalence of antibiotic resistance in zoo animal foods

Antibiotic resistant bacteria have been isolated from various human foods. These findings suggest that the food chain may play a role in disseminating antibiotic resistance to consumers. We will discuss the principals of antibiotic resistance and our recent study investigating the presence, identification, functionality, and transferability of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes isolated from zoo animal foods. A handout with an extended...

Associations of Zoos & Aquarium’s animal care manuals: What is the nutrition advisory group’s role?

The Species Survival Plan ® (SSP) or Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is responsible for creating and updating information on their prospective species. It is important to assemble this information in a systematic and consistent manner. In 2005, the Association of Zoo & Aquariums (AZA) created standardized guidelines. Considering the exact nutrient requirements of many exotic animals held in captivity are...

Evolution of diets for Herbivorous and Omnivorous Reptiles at the Philadelphia Zoo: From Mystery Toward Science

At the Philadelphia Zoo the diets for herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles evolved over a period of years. Prior to 1992. the diets had been formulated solely by the former curator. Analysis of the general salad fed to smaller species of herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles (Animal Nutritionist – N-2) indicated unbalanced levels of fat-soluble vitamins. In addition. one of the salad’s...

Food safety and sanitation

Food Safety and Sanitation is a big aspect of our daily operation and by providing a safe and clean environment you can maintain quality food for the entire collection. The purpose is to help others understand that by doing everything possible to reduce and, or eliminate the threat of food-borne illnesses, that you can keep your food, equipment and staff...

Nutritional pathology 101: common post mortem lesions of nutritional deficiencies and excess across taxa

The wide variety of lifestyle, digestive tract, and physiologic adaptations that exist across taxa result in an expansive array of nutritional needs and sensitivities, which can result in inadvertent essential nutrient excesses or deficiencies that result in disease (Barboza et al., 2009; Dierenfeld, 1997). While the incidence of nutrition related disease has seen a steady decline in veterinary pathology with...

A contribution to the trace element nutrition of captive black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis)

Due to the potential involvement of trace mineral imbalances in health problems observed in captive rhinoceroses, there has been recent interest in trace mineral provision by and absorption from captive diets. In one investigation, forage of free-ranging black rhinoceroses contained, on average, 6.5 (range: 3.0-12.2) mg copper (Cu)/kg dry matter (DM), 113 (29-215) mg iron (Fe)/kg DM, 89 (11-269) mg...