Toronto Zoo Announces ZWNF Resident
Assessing the Nutritional Welfare and Status of Animals
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

The influence of plant chemistry on browse choice in Angolan Colobus Monkeys (Colobus angolensis palliates)

Browse is included in the diets of many primate species, especially those that consume large portions of leaf material under free-ranging conditions. The challenge of providing a reliable source of browse is complicated by the limited availability of plant species that are nutritionally adequate, palatable, and available in suitable quantities to meet the demands of the animal collection.

Do more with less: the value of developing a collaborative approach to nutrition-based research

In the last decade, there has been a gradual awareness that basic research on nutritional physiology and digestive strategies is essential for improving the management and care of zoo animals. However, few small or medium-sized AZA zoological institutions have been able to commit the financial resources and meet the logistical needs to staff and conduct these types of critical studies....

The tools we use: outfitting your operation for efficacy and efficiency

Outfitting your nutrition operation can feel a bit like building an arsenal with which you can draw from to fight the good fight that is feeding your animals. However, what you put in your arsenal will depend entirely on your goals as a department and the space and capacity you have available. Wherever your operation lands on the centralized/decentralized commissary...

Evolution of a browse database- a global application

Browse – the new “buzzword” within zoological communities. Browse can include shrubs, trees, woody vines and stems, including various plant parts like berries and flowers. Browse is used for nutrient supplementation, behavioral enrichment and for some animal species it is life. Browse can also mean death to animals if a wrong plant or part is fed. With all of these...

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...

Hemochromatosis in bottlenose dolphins: clinical significance, risk factors, and treatment suggest non-hereditary etiology

Botttlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can have hemochromatosis (iron overload), evidenced by excessive iron deposition in the liver, transferrin saturation >80%, and rising high serum iron levels (>300 ug/dl) responsive to phlebotomy (Johnson et al., 2009). Dolphins with hemochromatosis have chronic, phasic elevations in aminotransferases (Venn-Watson et al., 2008). Compared to age and sex-matched healthy controls, these dolphins are also more...

Small Ruminants: Digestive Capacity Differences between Frugivores and Browsers?

Small ruminants are generally classified as either browsers or frugivores. We hypothesize that browsers may be able to digest insoluble fiber diets better than can frugivores. We compared intake and digestion in the following four species: two Cervidae: red brocket (Mazama americana), body weight 20 kg and pudu (Pudu pudu), 9 kg, and two Bovidae: bay duiker (Cephalophusdorsalis), 12 kg...

Feed intake and analysis of browse fed to Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Even though Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) have been exhibited at 4 zoos in the U.S. for about 20 years, the diet is not well defined. Currently, the animals at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (CZBG) appear in good health and condition with successful reproduction consuming a diet of the following ingredient proportions: 9-18% produce, 76-83% ficus spp., 3-5% ZNN (Zoo...

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...

Improvement of male fertility by long-term beta-carotene supplementation in white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum)

Substantial knowledge on the reproductive physiology of the female white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) has been gathered over the past years. However, little emphasis has been put on the evaluation of male fertility as a possible contributing factor to the demographic crisis of the captive population considering that 81% of male captive white rhinoceros have not sired offspring. Objective of this...

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)...

Some basic considerations in evaluating mineral nutrition

Diets which are balanced in their nutrient content is key to good nutrition. While reasonable balance is important with all nutrients, proportion or balance is critically sensitive for certain minerals. When feeding diets where dietary mineral composition is unknown, utilizing mineral supplements which contain minerals in proportion to the needs of the species involved will draw the total diet toward...

The influence of dietary fiber on digestibility, passage rate, and body mass in captive baboons (Papio Anubis)

This was a preliminary study in which nutrient digestibility, digesta passage rate and body mass were determined for a captive group of baboons (Papio anubis). The group consisted of 6 adult, nonpregnant females. Three experimental diets, varying in acid detergent fiber (ADF) content, were fed. The fiber content of the experiment diets was: diet1=10.45% ADF, diet2=18.30% ADF and diet3=30.40% ADF.

Common aquatic ingredient nutrient analyses: balancing practical feeding with long term aquatic health

Optimizing dietary formulations for aquatic species is one of the most challenging aspects of nutrition for exotics. Whether designing diets for elasmobranches, fish in a multi-species aquarium, or marine mammals, understanding the nutrients provided in the food is essential. Ideally, designing aquatic diets utilizes both known body weights of the target species, and analyzed nutrient contents of diet items. Repercussions...

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...

Energy requirements of captive non-human primates

Energy is a fundamental need of all living things. In the wild, satisfying energy requirements may be the most important aspect of foraging ecology and feeding decisions. In captivity, satisfying an animal’s energy requirement is usually not difficult. The concern is more over balancing energy intake with that of other necessary nutrients. The energy density of manufactured foods is normally...

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...

So your director wants a farm in the zoo

It seems that humans have always craved animal contact. Even at a zoo, a place designed for wild animals, visitors want and even expect to be able to touch an animal. Petting corrals, touch tanks, feeding stations, etc. are the most popular exhibits at a zoo, especially for families with young children. Contact areas can provide a valuable educational experience...

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...

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...

Zoo nutrition with budget constraints

It is becoming apparent to the zoo community that a quality nutrition program is a key to improved animal health, and potentially added contentment of the animal. Improved nutrition can also lead to enhanced breeding programs. However, even realizing this, many zoological institutions can not yet justify the cost of a full-time nutritionist. Therefore, a question often asked is, “How...

Effect of dietary fiber concentration on apparent digestibility and digesta passage in non-human primates. II. Hindgut-and Foregut fermenting folivores.

Two test diets with different acid detergent fiber (ADF) concentrations (15% ADF, 30% ADF) were fed to seven adult hindgut- and seven adult foregut-fermenting primates. Apparent digestibilities (%) of dietary dry matter (DM), gross energy (GE), and fiber components (neutral detergent fiber [NDF], ADF, hemicellulose [HC], and cellulose [C]) were measured. Rates of digesta transit (TT1) and retention (RGIT) times...

Apple leaves and bark as browse items for herbivorous monogastrics under human care

Many zoological institutions are faced with challenges when developing and providing a diet for their non-ruminant browsing herbivores. The most prominent issue remains providing readily available, safe and sufficient quantities of plant material. Zoos are often forced, usually by climate, to utilize seasonally available, local, appropriate and or novel plant species in order to decrease the effort and expense required...

Doing More with Less at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Improving Commissary Efficiency

Maximizing the efficiency of food preparation is the goal of every commissary operation.  At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, a number of process improvements have allowed us to take on additional projects and reduce our labor costs.  These include: a thorough re-design of our diet cards to minimize eye movement, maximize clarity, and reduce mistakes; pre-bagging dry goods to minimize traffic...

Iron deficiency anemia in captive Malayan tapir calves (Tapirus indicus)

Subclinical iron deficiency anemia was diagnosed in a captive neonatal female Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) through blood samples obtained as part of an in-house training program for venipuncture. Routine blood testing performed at day 2 of age was within in-house and ISIS normal values for this species. Microcytic hypochromic anemia (HCT = 16 %; MCV = 38.4 fL; MCH =...

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...

Analysis of nutrients, moisture loss, and vitamin stability in primate browse harvested at the San Diego Zoo

The objective of this study was to obtain nutrient profiles along with insight on rates of moisture and vitamin loss in browse harvested at San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG). Ten species of browse commonly offered to colobines were manually separated into leaf and bark components for analysis at a commercial laboratory. Findings indicate that a variety of browse species and...

Practical investigation of cricket dust supplements commonly used to enhance diets provided to insectivore species under human care.

Amphibians  and  reptiles  commonly  managed  under  human  care  are  commonly  fed  farmed  feeder  crickets  (Acheta  domesticus)  that  are  deficient  in  calcium.  Calcium  deficiency  can  lead  to  the  development  of  nutritional  metabolic  bone  disease  in  animals  consuming  the  crickets;  therefore,  feeder  crickets  are  commonly  supplemented  with  calcium  by  either  dusting  the  crickets’exoskeleton  or  by  providing  crickets  with  a  calcium  enriched  diet. ...

UNDERSTANDING RAW MEAT DIET FORMULATIONS

Concerns over raw meat diet formulations for zoological carnivores have included microbial contamination and food safety, protein source, and variations in nutrient composition and product consistency. The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act along with the 2012 AVMA Policy on Raw Pet Foods have heightened awareness of food safety concerns related to raw meat diet formulations. This awareness...

Regurgitation and Reingestion in Captive Great Apes

Two male western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and one female northwest Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus) at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium have exhibited recurring regurgitation and reingestion (R&R) behavior. No negative health effects have been noted related to this behavior in the two gorillas; however, the orangutan has had multiple cavities that are suspected to be related...