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

Diet-induced diabetes in captive plains viscachas (Lagostomus maximus)

Plains viscachas (Lagostomus maximus) are large, nocturnal rodents that inhabit the pampas of Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. They are considered to feed on poor quality food in the wild: grass, forbs and bushes. Plains viscachas have been kept and bred at Zurich Zoo since 1964 and have shown the tendency to develop a type II diabetes mellitus, which was supposedly...

So you want to be a zoo animal nutritionist

Well, “comparative nutrition” is the name of the game since it is estimated that the zoos of the world house over 3,000 different species [Wilson, 1992]. These include animals as different as snakes and elephants. Your challenge is to devise diets that ensure the proper nourishment of every animal. There is nothing more basic to animal health and welfare.

A Preliminary Study to Measure Protein, Fat and Moisture in Whole Mice and Rats by Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy

Whole mice and rats were analyzed using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIR) to measure percent protein (Pr), percent fat (FAT) and percent moisture (MST). The NIR calibrations for Pr, FAT and MST were developed using 34 samples including mice and rats of different ages. The accuracy of the calibrations was assessed by calculating the residual standard deviation (RSD) and the...

Normal urinary mineral excretion levels in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

Metabolic bone disease has occurred in several incidences of elephant neonates hand-reared on milk replacement formula. Monitoring for metabolic bone disease historically has been done through serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations. Serum concentrations are tightly regulated and changes in concentration are typically not evident until skeletal changes have already occurred. Urinary calcium and phosphorus excretion levels may provide earlier evidence...

Iron Storage Disease in Lemurs

A syndrome of excessive iron accumulation (hemosiderosis) was first recognized in lemurs as early as the 1960’s but descriptive reports of the condition were no t published until the 1980’s.1,4,11 The most well-known of these is a publication by Spelman et al. (1989) who reported 100% incidence of hemosiderosis in captive lemurs from the institution in her study.11 As a...

Nutritional and bacteriologic evaluation as part of a raw meat quality control program

Six lots of raw horsemeat diet (Zoo Carnivore Diet, Dallas Crown, Inc., Kaufman, TX 75142 USA) were analyzed in triplicate for selected nutritional and bacteriologic components. Aliquots of frozen meat were submitted to a commercial laboratory (Dairy One, Inc., Ithaca, NY 14850 USA) to determine proximate composition, mineral levels, and gross energy. Additional aliquots were thawed at 10°C for 44...

Application of a Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIR) to measure protein, fat and moisture in fish samples

Quality control programs need methods for simple and rapid analysis of feeds and ingredients. Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) and Transmission (NIT) Spectroscopy have been previously used for the analyses of fish carcasses (Gjerde and Mathias. 1987; Valdes et al.. 1989 and Downey. 1995). NIR was applied to measure percent fat, protein and moisture in fish samples used for food in...

Macronutrient composition of plants consumed by wild black and white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegate) in Betampona Natural Reserve, Madagascar

Macronutrient composition was determined on a dry matter (DM) basis for plants (n=121) consumed by wild black and white ruffed lemurs. Samples were collected based on direct observation of foraging by the study group for a period of one year. Plant parts included fruits (n=80), young leaves (n=37), and flowers (n=4).

Analysis of nectar replacement products and a case of iron toxicosis in hummingbirds

Twenty-five of 26 hummingbirds (Trochilidae) from 7 species previously maintained in an aviary on a commercial nectar substitute for 13 years, died over 3-month period. Gross necropsy was inconclusive; however, staining of liver and intestinal tissue showed high levels of Fe deposition. Analysis of separate bags (n=9) of the nectar product, with identical lot numbers, showed variation in Fe content...

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)...

The growth responses of two polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs to regimented dietary energy

The growth of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs depends to a large extent on litter size and the provision of maternal care, specifically, milk production and the sharing of prey (Derocher and Stirling, 1996, Robbins et al., 2012). Cubs in most subpopulations stay with their mothers for up to 2 ½ years and rely solely on maternal milk during the...

Zoo guidelines for keeping large felids in captivity

Within the family Felidae, determination of minimum husbandry needs of large cats is variable because of differences in size, morphology, and behavior. For purposes of this discussion, a large felid is identified as any species of cat belonging to the genus Panthera, including: lion, P. leo; tiger, P. tigris; jaguar, P. onca; leopard, P. pardus; and snow leopard, Uncia uncia;...

Analysis of fish offered to bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus truncatus) over a 5 year period : fluctuations and lessons in quality control

Dolphins held under human care often pose a challenge in terms of weight and subsequent health maintenance. While a lack of exercise may contribute to this situation, proper body weight can be controlled by taking regular weights and monitoring both feed and associated caloric intake by weight. At The Seas at Epcot, the diet of the four male dolphins housed...

Preliminary studies of flying foxes’ diet intake as an integration work between keepers and nutrition staff at Temaikèn

During 6 months, as part of an integration experience, keepers and nutrition staff worked together to study the flying foxes’ (Pteropus vampyrus and Pteropus lylei) diet intake at the Temaikèn Wild Animal Park. At the beginning of the study, animals weighed an average of 763.84 g in the case of the former, and 398.8 in the case of the latter....

Influence of fiber source on apparent digestibility, rate passage and fecal consistency in small felids fed a beef-based carnivore diet

In a crossover design, four adult animals, a male and female Amur leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis euptilura) and a male and female Turkmenistan caracal (Caracal caracal michaelis) were fed three fresh-frozen beef based diets containing different sources of fiber; beet pulp (BP), fructooligosaccharides/cellulose blend (FOS), and wood cellulose (Solka Floe®) (WC). Assessment included food intake, fecal consistency, animal body weight,...

FEED-RELATED HYPERVITAMINOSIS D IN A CAPTIVE FLOCK OF BUDGERIGARS (MELOPSITTACUS UNDULATAS): MORBIDITY, MORTALITIES AND PATHOLOGIC LESIONS

In the spring of 2012, the Blank Park Zoo began suffering mortalities in a flock of 229 captive Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) housed in an interactive public-feeding aviary. Clinical signs included weakness, posterior paresis, inability to fly, central nervous signs or acute death. Gross and microscopic lesions were not apparent in acutely affected deceased birds. Many birds had evidence of trauma,...

Case report: enhancing the vitamin E status and coloration of a Southern lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus biarmicus)

The death of a Lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus biarmicus) in January 2010 with low liver vitamin E (0.90 mg/kg wet wt.) suggested that the bird was in poor health with a marginal diet. The liver vitamin E concentration of poultry receiving adequate dietary vitamin E is 15-40 ?g/g wet weight.8 Animal care staff wanted to ensure the diet of the...

Evaluation of eight species of native Texas browse as suitable forage substitutes for black rhinoceros (Dieros bicornis)

Duplication of natural foodstuffs for animals in captivity can be a difficult task. While it may not be possible to provide food sources normally available in an animal’ s natural habitat, a prospective goal might be to provide similar nutrients from locally available foods. Eight species of native Texas browse were studied for adequacy as a source of browse for...

A targeted metabolomics assay to measure purines in the diet of managed and free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates)

Ammonium urate nephrolithiasis occurs in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) managed under human care but not in free-ranging dolphins (Smith et al., 2013). In mammals, purine-rich diets, such as the piscivorous diet of dolphins, can predispose to urate urolith formation (Osborne et al., 1995). The total purine content of food is measured commercially by summing the concentrations of four purine...

Use of a novel iron chelator (HBED) in black rhinoceros

Black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis) are critically endangered and are compromised by iron overload under human care (Paglia and Tsu, 2012; Molenaar et al., 2008). With the goal of safely reducing iron absorption in the gastrointestinal tract of affected and susceptible individuals, we investigated oral administration of the iron chelator, N,N-bis(2-hydroxybenzyl)ethylenediamine-N,N–diacetic acid (HBED) to 2.1 black rhinoceros. We expected HBED administration...

Application of body condition indices for leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis)

Indirect methods of assessing chelonian body condition using combinations of body mass and shell measurements have been explored: however, there is little published data on tracking captive chelonian health and growth using a body condition index (BCI). Two published BCI formulas were compared for application with a captive colony of leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis).

A preliminary evaluation of a hand-rearing formula for southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) calves

Exotic neonates may be hand-raised in captivity for various reasons. Records and evaluations of these hand-rearing efforts, the protocols used to achieve typical species growth and behavior, and data on the composition of mother’s milk, are needed to increase the success of hand-rearing a number of exotic species, including the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK)...

Limitations of Plasma or Serum Analysis in Assessing Vitamin E Status of Domestic and Wild Animals

Venipuncture is a relatively noninvasive means of sampling tissues for determination of deviations from physiologic norms. To the extent that norms can be defined and deviations from norms can be associated with abnormality, blood analyses may be medically useful. However, studies of vitamin E metabolism have shown that neither the magnitude of body stores nor the availability of dietary supplies...

Effects of diet on nutritional content of whole vertebrate prey.

Proximate composition (moisture, lipid, protein, ash), vitamin A and vitamin E content, and six minerals (Cu, Fe, Zn, Mg, Mn, Ca) were measured in quail, rats, mice, and guinea pigs raised on at least two different diets per species. Feed composition varied substantially but erratically in lipid, vitamin A, vitamin E, and mineral content. All unsupplemented feeds had less vitamin...

Feeding strategies in wild carnivores: progress report of a model approach

Feeding strategies among wild carnivores are still partly unexplained. Carnivore mass is a determining factor in the choice for a specific range in prey size (Carbone et al., 1999). According to Carbone et al. (2007), two dietary groups can be distinguished: small carnivores hunting on small prey (< 20 kg) and large carnivores hunting on large prey (> 20 kg)....

Nutrition as a major facet of reptile conservation

The importance of nutrition has not received much recognition in conservation biology. However, captive breeding is possible only if nutritional requirements of animals are met, and effective habitat management requires an evaluation of nutritional resources. Three examples involving reptile conservation are presented. The formulation and testing of experimental meal-type diets proved essential for the large-scale rearing of green iguanas (Iguana...

NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF FEEDSTUFFS FED TO ANIMALS IN THE NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS OF SOUTH AFRICA

Processes of preparing balanced diets, limitations in the supply of suitable feedstuffs to captive animals and their diversity in the zoological community are special challenges to diet management. The knowledge of the nutrients needed by the animal and what feeds will supply those nutrients, is one of the most important steps in managing diet of animals in captivity. In the...

Results of a Preliminary Survey into Wasting Marmoset Syndrome in Callitrichid Collections

A preliminary survey of Wasting Marmoset Syndrome was conducted in order to ascertain the significance of this disease constellation in callitrichid collections during the period from 1989 through 1993. Questionnaires prepared by the Philadelphia Zoo Animal and Animal Health Departments and approved by the AZA New World Primate Taxon Advisory Group were mailed to 275 animal managers and veterinarians at...

Gut-Loading Diet Evaluation for Crickets (Acheta domesticus), Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), and Superworms (Zophobas morio) for the Purposes of Optimizing Institutional Protocols

For captive insectivorous birds, reptiles, and amphibians, gut-loading has become an essential part of a balanced diet when feeding commercial feeder insects. The captive bred crickets, mealworms, and superworms being fed have inadequate Ca and vitamin A to meet the nutritional needs of these animals. The trials conducted for this study were to determine which gut-loading diet would be the...

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...