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

Browse species preference and palatability of Colobus guereza kikuyuensis at the Denver Zoological Gardens

In the wild, folivorous primates have access to leaves of many different species. At the Denver Zoological Gardens (DZG), in Denver, Colorado, Colobus guereza kikuyuensis primates consume most vegetation presented to them, thus maintenance of vegetation in an animal exhibit is challenging. It is observed that insufficient browse often results in behavior concerns such as pacing or lack of mental...

Birth weights and growth rates of giraffe and okapi at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

There is a lack of information available regarding the average birth weights and growth rates of many exotic animal species. This information can prove useful when evaluating the health of new born animals in a zoological setting. Within 24 to 48 hours of birth, giraffe (Giraffa camelopardis) and okapi (Okapia johnstoni) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are weighed and health is...

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...

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...

Body condition scoring in cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) advancements in methodology and visual tools for assessment

Body condition scoring (BCS) is the use of a standardized, non-invasive, cost-free tool for evaluating the degree of external adiposity of an individual (Bray, 2001). With proper validation, BCS can be applied to any species and utilizes a scale or spectrum of 1 to 5 or 1 to 9 to describe degree of fatness. BCS allows for identification of under-...

Comparison of parathyroid hormone, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in serum and urine of nyala (Tragelaphus angassi) on concentrates or a forage only diet

The nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) herd at Busch Gardens Tampa has historically had one of the highest incidences of Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, Mptb) within the collection. A 10-yr epidemiologic review at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay revealed 27/83 (32.5%) Mptb culture positive individuals. At the time of this trial, 20/21 positive animals were also noted to be hypocalcemia. It was...

METABOLIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE EARLY ONSET OF OBESITY IN COMMON MARMOSET MONKEYS.

We examined the patterns of fat mass gain from birth to 12 months in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), and tested the hypotheses that juvenile marmosets with excess adipose tissue will display higher fasting glucose, decreased insulin sensitivity, and decreased ability to clear glucose from the blood stream. Lean and fat mass was measured by quantitative magnetic resonance at 1, 2,...

Predicting nutrient values of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

From May to December each year, the African elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom receive elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) as a significant portion of their diet. Near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) is used to quickly predict the nutrient quality of the forage. Samples of elephant grass have been collected since 2003 and used to develop calibration equations. As...

Conversion of six domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) from commercial cat foods to a commercial domestic ferret food: a food acceptance trial

For years the Philadelphia Zoo struggled to find a simple, palatable diet for the domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) in the Philadelphia Zoo collection. The ferrets are used in the zoos education program and housed at the Children’s Zoo. Many of the animal caretakers at the Children’s Zoo are volunteers; thus, the animals are cared for by a number of...

Preliminary report on the quantification of ultraviolet-B radiation from artificial light sources over time

The term “metabolic bone disease” encompasses a variety of bone-related diseases, including rickets, osteomalacia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis, all of which are associated with a weakening of bone structure. Metabolic bone disease is considered a serious health problem among certain species of captive reptiles. The occurrence of metabolic bone disease is believed to be due to insufficient concentrations of circulating vitamin...

Considerations for ethical acquisition and treatment of feeder animals in zoos

Zoos, as a rule, have stringent standards for acquisition and care of the animals in their collection. Following this philosophy, it also is important to heed similar considerations for “feeder” animals. Feeder animals are those utilized to feed carnivorous and omnivorous collection animals that consume prey items as all, or part, of their diet. The purpose of this discussion is...

The impact of nutritional factors on the development of phosphatic uroliths using meat goats as a model for captive giraffes

Obstructive urolithiasis is a documented problem in domestic ruminants, such as the meat goat, and exotic herbivores, such as captive giraffe. These two species develop phosphorus based uroliths and are considered browsing ruminants. Due to the logistical challenges of performing studies with captive giraffe, a metabolic trial was conducted using meat goats as a model. The intent of this study...

Nutritional status in captive Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncates)

Nutritional status of captive dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) was examined using biochemical analysis. Voluntary blood samples, obtained from four healthy captive bottlenose dolphins at Brookfield Zoo, were analyzed for vitamin D metabolites [25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D], lipids (total cholesterol, triacylglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol), and fatty acids. Fish fed to these dolphins were analyzed for dry matter, crude protein, fat, energy, vitamin D,...

Similarity of rumen degradable protein (RDP) degradation rates comparing in vitro and in situ techniques

Protein provided to ruminants can be divided into rumen degradable protein (RDP) and rumen undegradable protein (RUP). The RDP provides amino acids and ammonia-nitrogen which are vital to the growth of rumen microbes. An imbalance of the RDP supply and microbial RDP requirement can alter ruminal fermentation. The imbalance could lead to reproductive inefficiencies, inadequate growth, and ruminal acidosis. To...

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...

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...

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;...

Nutrition and immunity: vitamins and minerals

Infectious diseases impinge on animal health and welfare. Appropriate nutrition may aid in minimizing the incidence of infectious diseases by optimizing immunity. Formulating diets that optimize immunity requires knowing the specific cellular mechanisms by which nutrients affect immunity, and how these mechanisms pertain to specific nutrients and pathogens. Understanding the nuances of nutrition and immunity is important because higher dietary...

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...

Efficacy of chelated minerals; review of literature

The recent report (Leach and Patton, 1997) of an assay procedure for chelated minerals removes an obstacle that has long hindered consideration of chelates by the animal feed industry. In the absence of a reliable assay, it is understandable that some would hesitate to embrace a technology that’s existence could not be proven empirically. Nonetheless, circumstantial evidence kept most minds...

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...

Association of enterolith formation relative to water source pH consumed by wild equids under captive conditions

Intestinal disorders associated with enteroliths in domestic and wild equids have perpetuated folklore feeding practices in the western U.S. Enteroliths are stones formed in the large intestine, consisting primarily of magnesium ammonium phosphate [Mg(NH4)(PO4) – 6H20]. The frequency of enteroliths reported in clinical cases and necropsy reports among captive equids at the Zoological Society of San Diego appears to be...

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...

Useful references in zoo and wildlife nutrition

Zoo and wildlife nutritionists apply their nutrition expertise daily to a variety of situations, ranging from the most applied to the most basic. These include commissary operation, inventory maintenance, staff direction, laboratory management, diet formulation and evaluation, consultations with other zoo personnel and other zoos, and budget supervision. Beyond this, they interact with professionals on topics outside of their profession,...

The effect of diet on growth and development of Puerto Rican Crested Toad (Peltophryne lemur) tadpoles

The Puerto Rican Crested Toad (Peltophryne lemur), an endemic toad of Puerto Rico, was the first amphibian to be considered suitable for the Species Survival Plan (SSP). Captive propagation for release of this species began in 1983, and the Toronto Zoo has reintroduced over 15,000 animals to their native habitat since 1985. Although these animals have been successfully reared in...

Optimum feeding and dietary formulation for ornamental fish species

The formulation of adequate diets for organisms in an aquatic environment gives a greater challenge to those involved in their care, compared to terrestrial species. The aim of this paper was to highlight all the factors which should be considered when formulating a maintenance feeding program for ornamental fish. The provision of energy and other nutrients to poikilothermic animals can...

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...

A comparative nutrient analysis of fish species consumed by managed and free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) with respect to ammonium urate nephrolithiasis

Ammonium urate nephroliths develop in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) managed under human care, but do not occur in free-ranging dolphins (Smith et al., 2013). In mammals, urate urolith development has been attributed partly to the effect of diet on urine saturation and pH. Free-ranging and collection dolphins consume diets that differ in fish species variety, location, and fresh versus...

Case Study: Iron in Black Rhinoceros Diets: The Impact of Pasture

Over the course of a year, serum ferritin and iron in a black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) increased over time, despite a prescribed diet low in iron. To identify additional sources of iron intake, vegetation in the enclosure was analyzed for iron content. Iron concentrations in enclosure samples averaged 736 ppm, well in excess of maximum recommended total-diet concentrations of 300...