Polar Bear Nutrition Guidelines
Post-Doc: Henry Doorly Zoo
Job posting: Georgia Aquarium Commissary Manager
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

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.

Advances in nutrient metals digestion using open and closed vessel microwave systems

Rapid technologically evolution in sensor, computer, and vessel enhancements have led to lower detection limits and residual carbon values for both open and closed vessel microwave techniques. Application of these technologies to the determination of nutrient metals (as well as nitrogen content) of food and feeds has shown that both high level (Fe, Zn, Cu) and important trace (Se, As,...

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...

NUTRIENT STABILITY OVER TIME IN MANUFACTURED FEEDS

Understanding nutrient stability over time is of critical importance when determining the shelf life of animal feed. Trials examining nutrient stability are difficult to manage because of the long duration of trials, particularly if multiple environmental conditions are examined. It is well known that a variety of factors including temperature, humidity, light, and interactions between nutrients (e.g., oxidation of fat...

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...

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...

Comparison of proximate composition of domestic cat (Felis catus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), African lion (Panthera leo), and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) maternal milk with exotic cat hand-rearing formulae

The aims of this study are (1) to compare proximate composition of milks of five felids, the domestic cat (Felis catus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), African lion (Panthera leo), and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) to establish if there exist species-specific differences in felid maternal milk composition, (2) to conduct proximate analyses on commercial hand-rearing formulae...

Development of a rumen fluid preservation technique and application to an in vitro dry matter digestibility assay

The objective of this study was to develop a rumen-fluid freezing and thawing protocol to be used with a two-stage in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) assay. Rumen fluid was collected on three different days (one week apart) from a domestic steer (Bos taurus) and preserved via freezing, freezing with 5% glycerol (GLY) or freezing with 5% glycerol plus a...

Possible Dietary Influence on Hepatobiliary Cancer in Sloth Bears (Melursus ursinus)

Compared with other bear species, sloth bears have an unusually high incidence of hepatobiliary neoplasms in captivity. Due to their highly specialized diet in the wild, there is a possibility that in captivity their diet may cause or promote hepatobiliary carcinogenesis and/or may lack certain food components which may inhibit carcinogenesis. A survey among zoos keeping sloth bears shows that...

Creating ice block cakes for enrichment

Animal enrichment has become an essential part of caring for captive animals in a zoological setting. There are various types of enrichment, which include social groupings, exhibit design, sensory stimulation, and different feeding strategies. One of the most common types of enrichment is feeding strategies. Ice blocks filled with various vegetables and fruits can be used to enrich animals. Ice...

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...

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 don’t make sense, they...

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...

Obesity, weight management and dietary analysis in Micronesian kingfishers (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina)

Mortality in captive Micronesian kingfishers (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina) is notably high in age classes that should be peak breeding years. Females, in particular, suffer high rates of mortality earlier than would be expected from examining patterns in related species. Many birds are overweight and sustained weight loss has been difficult to achieve. Body mass for the 2.2 birds in this...

Development of a standardized body condition score for cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

Standardized body condition indices (BCI) or scores (BCS) provide practical management tools for assessment of diet utilization and general quantification of fat stores that an animal carries. They have been widely developed and applied with livestock, domestic cats and dogs, and more recently, to various wildlife species, primarily hoofstock. Comparisons between BCS developed for free-ranging versus captive wildlife species have...

Calcium and insect gut-loading: the development of a protocol for achieving the best CA:P ratio for insectivorous animals

Commercially raised insects have inverse calcium to phosphorus ratio. Captive insectivorous animals are potentially at risk for metabolic bone disorders if the calcium to phosphorus ratio is not equalized. This is achieved through an active supplementation program where the feeder insect is given access to a calcium rich diet prior to ingestion by the insectivore. A zoo-wide insect supplementation survey...

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...

Does B vitamin supplementation increase survival or weight gain stranded California sea lions

When pinnipeds enter a rehabilitation facility, they have often fasted for an unknown period of time and are nutritionally deficient. They often are then fed dead fish. Certain species of fish are deficient in vitamin B1, or thiamine, as they contain thiaminases, enzymes which break down this vitamin after the fish have died. Deficiencies in these vitamins can result in...

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...

Secondary compounds in foods selected by free-ranging primates on St. Catherines Island, GA

The foraging behavior of two groups of free-ranging primates, ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) and lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus), residing on St. Catherines Island Wildlife Center, Georgia was observed seasonally at quarterly intervals for one year. Each group (N=13, N=9, respectively) had unlimited access to native flora and fauna in addition to a daily provisional diet. Representative samples of non-provisioned items...

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...

Validation of a radioimmunoassay for Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) insulin

Insulin is a principle mediator of metabolic and reproductive function and could provide an indicator for health status in elephants as in humans, equines and other species. This study was intended to validate a radioimmunoassay for insulin in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Four Asian elephant cows (age 11-39 y) at the Fort Worth Zoo were fed coastal hay only overnight,...

Effect of Level of Intake on Digestion, Rate of Passage and Chewing Dynamics in Hay-Fed Bactrian Camels (Camelus bactrianus)

Four female Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus) were offered a diet of chopped mixed hay, composed predominantly of timothy, at three levels of intake. Digestibility of the hay was measured by total collection and rates of passage using cobalt (III) ethylene diamine tetra acetate and Chromium-mordanted hay. The time spent eating and ruminating per day was ascertained by continuous observation for...

Hand-rearing hoofstock: a team approach

There are many reasons for hand-rearing neonatal hoofstock in captivity. From 1989 until 1992 the Fort Worth Zoo had no male springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) or dama gazelles (Gazella dama). In 1993, when males were added to these herds, offspring began to be produced. Calves were rejected by first time mothers who had also been hand-reared, and by dams with a...

Trace element intake of Cercopithecinae

The Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn and Mo intake was determined in 5 species of Cercopithecinae kept in captivity. The feed dry matter contained up to three times higher concentrations of trace elements compared to humans’ mixed and vegetarian diets. Although the mean body mass of the animals only amounted to 8% of the body mass of humans, they had a...

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...

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...

General procedures and guidelines for hand rearing felid neonates

There are many reasons to hand rear felid neonates in a zoological setting. The criteria for doing so should be set in advance of parturition and all preparations made for the process. The possibility of illness or common ailment should be anticipated and plans should be made for routine veterinary checks. Staff involvement, feeding schedules, formula, feeding supplies and methods...

Digestive efficiency and passage rate in two propithecus species fed in a captive diet

The objective was to measure dry matter intake(DMI), digestibility, transit time (TT) and mean retention time (MRT) in captive P. v. coquereli (n=5, 3.7 ( 0.3kg) and P. tattersalli (n=2, 3.2 ( 0.03kg) while being fed a diet consisting of Mazuri Leafeater Primate Chow at 85% of DMI and sumac (Rhus copallina) at 15% of DMI. After a six-week diet...

Feeding browse to large zoo herbivores: How much is “A lot”, How much is “Sufficient”?

Diet evaluations in captive browsers are often confounded by the fact that the amount of browse offered is difficult to quantify, especially if whole branches are fed. For a diet survey in captive moose (Alces alces), we established correlations between the diameter at point of cutting of a branch and the amount of foliage and edible twigs on it.