2019 ZWNF/NAG Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition
Polar Bear Nutrition Guidelines
Post-Doc: Henry Doorly Zoo
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 Charts: The Keeper’s Tool and Aide

For most institutions, whether public or private, conservation of endangered species is a high priority. Conservationist will use a variety of tools available to aid them in meeting their goals. Healthy reproductive animals are vital to the management of a viable captive population. One important tool, integral to successful survivorship of animals in our care, is dietary monitoring. One of...

Dietary taurine supplementation and cardiac function in the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla): preliminary findings

Taurine is not considered an essential amino acid in most mammals as it can be synthesized from cysteine. Cats are an exception, lacking an enzyme necessary for this conversion and a lack of dietary taurine has been linked to central retinal degeneration and dilated cardiomyopathy. This form of feline cardiomyopathy is reversible with a dietary taurine supplement. More recently, a...

The Mob-Under Investigation

‘Brewer’, a 4 year old male red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) under human care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, presented on December 10, 2016 with signs of colic, penile prolapse, and dribbling urine. Diagnostic imaging, including radiographs and computed tomography (CT) with contrast, revealed urethral obstruction with a radiopaque stone and additional uroliths in the left ureter and right renal pelvis. The...

Nutrient composition of selected tropical browse species fed to zoo animals in Hawaii

The objective of this project was to determine the nutrient composition of selected browse species available and fed at the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii, and to facilitate their use in more balanced zoo rations there and at other tropically located zoos. Samples of 26 different materials including; apple banana, areca palm, hula bamboo, golden bamboo, cape honeysuckle, coral hibiscus, dwarf...

Intake and digestion in a single Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) in Captivity

Three 5-day feeding trials were conducted with a single adult male aye- aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) on an exhibit loan to the Wildlife Conservation Park, Bronx, NY, from the Duke University Primate Center, Durham, NC. The animal was a very selective feeder, and ate less than half of foods presented daily. Diets offered had higher crude fat (44.1 % vs. 30.0%)...

Nutritional considerations for maintaining aquarium fishes

A broad spectrum of nutritional issues faces aquariums. Although some of these issues may appear very basic, such as maintaining adequate food supplies or ensuring their adequate distribution and consumption within an exhibit, there is an underlying complexity created by the interrelationships of many nutrition-related issues within aquatic systems. This paper briefly describes several of the most prevalent issues facing...

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....

Tools and techniques for successfully grinding fish for tube feed formulas

Grinding fish in a blender is very complex because the fish often need to be processed to some degree and there are many choices of blenders. Suggested blenders to use include Waring blenders of various sizes, homogenizers, or smaller, but more affordable, Magic BulletÒ or NutriBulletÒ. Using a meat grinder, chopping, filleting, skinning, and successive blending are all methods of...

Differences in gut microflora between captive and wild birds: Are we getting the captive balance right?

The microbiota of the vertebrate gastrointestinal tract consists of a diverse collection of microbial species. In the past, identification of these species has involved cultivation-based techniques. However, due to the dependence upon bacteria-specific media during cultivation, up to 80% of species may not have been identified using these techniques. To overcome this bias, a DNA-based technique of identifying microbial communities...

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.

Serum concentrations of lipids, vitamins A and E, vitamin D metabolites, and carotenoids in nine primate species at four zoos

The purpose of this work was to measure important nutritional status parameters for captive primates, compare those with published data, and look for a link with diet. The nutritional status of nine captive primate species was examined using biochemical analysis. The species were spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza), sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus), Schmidt’s monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius), mandrills...

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...

Intake apparent digestibility and digesta passage in leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis) fed a complete, extruded feed

The influence of feeding juvenile female leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis, n=18) a commercially available, complete, extruded feed on two commonly used feeding schedules was evaluated. When fed seven (compared to three) days per week, dry matter and digestible energy intakes were greater (P<0.05). Tortoises gained more body weight, kilogram (BWkg), but not when adjusted per initial BWkg, grew more in...

Body condition scoring of captive (zoo) equids

Obesity in captive wild equids may result from forage diets that are higher in energy, over-fed and not fed according to BW. In addition, processed forages are supplemented or substituted for long-stem forage diets and differences in feeding management are not considered. The scoring system used for domestic horses has been used and modified for captive (zoo) equids. The nine-point...

Nutrient and fermentation characteristics of Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) silage

The objective of this study was to evaluate the nutrient and fermentation characteristics of Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) silage. Twelve laboratory scale silos (10.2 cm diameter x 45.7 cm long) were packed by hand with chopped willow (1.41 kg as-is, range 1.28 – 1.65 ± 0.18 SD) and opened on 0, 21, 42, and 84-d post-ensiling (three replicates per period)....

Hypovitaminosis A: influence of three diets or topical treatment on hepatic, adipose, and plasma retinoid concentrations and presence of squamous metaplasia in Mississippi gopher frogs (Rana capito servosa)

Hypovitaminosis A has been linked to health concerns in amphibians causing squamous metaplasia of the tongue, bladder, kidneys and other organs. Juvenile Mississippi Gopher Frogs (Rana capito servosa) at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (n = 32) were randomly assigned to one of four vitamin A treatment groups including three dietary feeder cricket treatments and one topical vitamin A...

Foraging behavior and analysis of whole prey eaten by the American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)

As part of a continuing study using the American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), populations as biomonitors of coastal habitat quality, foraging behavior was quantified, and primary food items obtained for nutritional analysis during June and July, 2002. Two southeastern US barrier island sites were sampled: St. Catherines Island (SCI), GA and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, SC. Bivalves including blood ark...

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...

Monoozygenase conversion in two anura species

It is unknown whether pro-vitamin A supplements used in captive diets of amphibian insectivores provide the animals with nutrients they can convert for their vitamin A needs. This research sought to evaluate if activity of ?–carotene 15,15’-monooxygenase was present in the liver and small intestine of two anura species, as gauged by the conversion of ?–carotene to retinal. Liver and...

The effect of tannin on the in vitro solubilization of iron

The absorption of dietary iron can be greatly influenced by other constituents in the diet, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and tannins. Ascorbic acid increases the bioavailability of iron by converting Fe3+ to Fe2+, while tannins can reduce the bioavailability of iron by binding to it. Captive herbivorous animals are often impacted by either the addition or absence of...

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...

Ideal protein and zoo carnivores: further considerations for optimizing diets

Carnivorous zoo species are often fed “natural product” diets, i.e. raw meat-based meals for large felids, whole vertebrate prey, entire fish for aquatic or otherwise piscivorous species, and/or a variety of invertebrates consumed by insectivores. In general, these types of diets contain relative excess protein compared to nutritional requirements established for domestic cats and dogs, (NRC, 2006) or production species...

Financial aspects of zoo diet management

Food purchases tend to be one of the greatest expenses, beyond salaries and benefits, for the maintenance of any zoo collection. For this reason, the commissary/food budget is one that receives a lot of attention during the budget planning process. Upon each accreditation inspection, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) requires proof of financial stability, including insurance coverage, evidence...

Commentary- Skepticism and science: responsibilities of the comparative nutritionist

Comparative nutritionists are asked to formulate diets for over 3,000 species of animals,including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Little research has been conducted to provide an information base for this task, and both popular and scientific publications contain factual errors and irrational concepts that confuse the user. When data are suspect and theories do not make sense, they...

Growth curves and their implications in hand-rearing monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus)

Monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus) were hand-reared over two chick seasons spanning from 2010-2011. Information on the growth curve of chicks hand-raised in 2010 was used to develop a feeding protocol for the 2011 season. This protocol was focused to address the problem areas of delayed growth and then excessive growth experienced by the baby parrots hand-reared in 2010. The 2011...

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....

Development of hand-rearing techniques for Roseate Spoonbills, Ajaia ajaja, at the Fort Worth Zoo

The Fort Worth Zoo has held a breeding flock of roseate spoonbills (Ajaia ajaja), since the 1960’s and has had more success breeding and parent-rearing roseate spoonbills (Ajaia ajaja), than any other institution worldwide. To infuse new genetic material into the North American population, Fort Worth began collecting hatchlings and eggs from free-ranging birds for hand- rearing. Fledglings were first...

Creation of the Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition Foundation

The Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition Foundation (ZWNF) was formed in March 2012 and became an official 501(c)3 organization a year later. The Foundation was established for the purpose of contributing expertise and providing funds to support the field of zoo and wildlife nutrition worldwide, furthering the science of zoo nutrition, facilitating the dissemination of nutrition knowledge, and developing the next...