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...

Training, enrichment and sound animal nutrition can coexist the development of a multifaceted bird feeding program at the Philadelphia Zoo

In conjunction with the development of a new training program, the Zoo developed a 4 part-feeding program for collection birds that integrates training with nutrition and enrichment. This program allowed the Zoo to better monitor the feed intake of individual birds within a mixed species exhibit and collect data on individual animals. The program placed birds into three general groupings...

Fiber digestibility in black lemurs (Eulemur Macaco Macaco)

Black lemurs are classified as generalist feeders, existing on both fruits and leaves depending upon seasonal availability. In captivity they are typically fed a diet of commercially manufactured primate biscuits and readily available produce, both of which are limited in fermentable fiber. Digestibility trials were conducted on fourteen black lemurs, housed in 4 groups (4, 3, 3 & 2) and...

A novel approach for hand-rearing Chilean flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis)

A hand-rearing protocol was developed based on progressive series of food items offered to parent-reared flamingo chicks. Two (0.2) Chilean flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis) were hand-reared due to parental neglect and medical management starting at 24 and 32 days of age. The hand-rearing formula was based on ground Flamingo 24 (Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego CA 92112 USA), Zoologic...

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...

Communicating captive wild animal nutrition

Zoo or captive wild animal nutrition is globally evolving into a respected science. It is still in its infancy and there are many unknowns particularly with today’s economic environment. However, there is one certainty about this emerging arena, and that is, only the people caring for these animals and their dedication, will improve the field of zoo nutrition. Often “people...

Thermal constraints on grazing and browsing herbivores

There are five ways in which an animal may exchange heat with its environment: solar (shortwave) radiation gain, longwave radiation exchange, convective exchange, conductive exchange, and heat loss by evaporation. This heat exchange, in combination with the metabolic heat produced by the animal, defines the animal’s heat balance (Figure 1). When a homeothermic animal cannot lose sufficient body heat (generated...

Increasing animal food biosecurity guidelines in the presence of a foreign animal disease outbreak: Exotic Newcastle Disease

Nutritionists have emphasized the importance of quality control and food safety as a routine component of zoo animal feeding programs. Formal programs, including HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) plans, have been implemented to evaluate the steps food goes through between receipt on-site and consumption by the animals for which we are responsible. However, until recently, zoos and aquaria...

Designing analytical software for global data sharing of rhinoceros browse and diet information

As part of an ongoing effort to develop information resources and tools integrating valuable global research, we present a database and software model that integrates feeding habits, browse usage information, nutrient composition of native and substitute foods, and captive diet records for rhinoceros species. Screen displays and output reports include: Browses/Forages Offered, Browse/Forage Nutrient Composition, Diets Fed by Zoological Facility,...

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...

Dietary intake and digestion in snow leopards (Uncia uncia) at the Bronx Zoo

Although the nutritional requirements of the domestic cat are well known and various investigations have been conducted with larger exotic felids no published information on digestion in snow leopards, Uncia uncia, is available. Two three-day intake and digestion trials were conducted on 4.6 adult (ages 3-15 years) captive-born snow leopards at the Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY in December, 1996. Routine...

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).

Hypomagnesemia, hypocalcemia, and ruminitis in ungulates: an under-recognized syndrome?

Macro- and microminerals are critical in maintaining normal physiologic processes. Requirements for domestic ungulates have been documented and are available through the National Research Council (NRC). Normal values have not been established for most wildlife species. Due to specialized feeding habits, collection of baseline data for each species is needed to develop complete diets and detect nutritional diseases. Several cases...

Variation in voluntary intake of feeds by captive giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis): Implications for meeting nutrient requirements

Data prompting evaluation of captive giraffe feed selection were obtained from a modified reversal study investigating the effects of dietary physical form and carbohydrate profile. Six non-lactating adult female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) were used in seven 21-day periods. Supplements were: an experimental non-pelleted browser supplement (EF) and a mixture of 75% Mazuri Browser Breeder (PMI Nutrition International, LLC, Brentwood,...

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...

Implications of carbohydrate feeding for captive herbivore nutrition and welfare

Carbohydrates comprise the major portion of most herbivore diets. Research is limited regarding the effect of carbohydrates as provided in commercial feeds, forage, and browse on the nutrition and health of captive herbivores. However, the diversity of carbohydrates, their digestion characteristics, nutrients they supply, impacts of their physical form, and potential impact on animal health strongly recommend that they be...

Suspected Vitamin D3 toxicity in a group of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

Three black rhinoceros (two males, one female, Diceros bicornis) in a group of 10 black rhinoceros, (two male and two female long-term wild-caught adults and six male captive-born juveniles) began to show hypercalcemia and partial anorexia over a 5-mo time frame. These signs were more pronounced in the adult rhinoceros, serum sampling in the juveniles were inconsistent due to behavioural...

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...

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...

Developing an energy intake model for parent-rearing Saddle-bill storks (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)

A model was developed based on food disappearance to determine the quantity of food and estimate the metabolizable energy (ME) requirements for the growth of parent reared Saddle-bill storks (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis). Based on the initial observations in 2001, a feeding protocol was developed and utilized for parent-reared storks in 2002. Food disappearing from the food dish offered to two (1.1)...

Sustainability issues come home: choosing seafood for zoo and aquarium animals

It has been have taken for granted that wild populations of seafood species would always be readily available. Unfortunately, there are limitations and a continued trend in the decline of fish populations both in the United States and around the globe. At the same time, the demand for seafood is increasing. Captive piscivorous animals must be provided with seafood to...

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...

The good, the bad and the ugly: Feedstuff evaluation and quality control

Overall diet quality is controlled by the quality of the individual items that comprise the diet. This seems intuitively obvious, but is “easier said than done” when it is applied to zoo diets. Usually we use multiple items in combination (complete feeds, produce, meat, fish, whole prey, etc.) to meet the nutrient needs of the animals in our care, and...

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...

Intake study of the lesser green broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A nine-day intake study was carried out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s (DAK) Avian Research Center on an adult pair (1.1) of the frugivorous lesser green broadbills (LGB). The pellet/produce/invertebrate diet was fed twice daily. Two collections were carried out; one with food items presented separated, and a second with all ingredients combined as prepared by keepers. The birds displayed a...

A zoo-wide evaluation into the current feeder insect supplementation program at the Brookfield Zoo

Commercially raised insects are an important food source for captive animals. For those animals that are purely insectivorous, the nutrient concentrations of the food source are vitally important for the health and welfare of the animal, particularly the Ca to P ratio. In the summer of 2002, a zoo-wide evaluation of the current methods of insect supplementation was conducted at...

Application of a dry, manufactured diet for multiple lory species

Lories, lorikeets, and other psittacines that include plant pollen and nectars as a portion of their natural diets have historically been offered liquid nectar solution (LNS) diets as some portion of a captive feeding program. Although readily accepted by these species, LNS diets are nutritionally dissimilar to foods consumed by free-ranging individuals, primarily due to high moisture content and subsequent...

Viverrid digestive physiology: comparison of binturongs (Artictis binturong) and dwarf mongoose (Helgale parvula)

A preliminary investigation was conducted to compare intake and digestion in the largest and smallest members of the Viverridae family, highly frugivorous binturongs (Arctictis binturong; n=2) and the more carnivorous dwarf mongoose (Helogale parvula; n=6) housed in groups. Normal zoo diets were monitored over two 4-day periods, with total feed intake and fecal output measured.

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...

The effect of sample handling and preparation on the iron binding polyphenolic content of browse

The objective of this study was to determine feasible handling methods for accurate analysis of iron binding polyphenolics. Seven methods were tested with different combinations of both onsite handling and laboratory preparation. In these methods, on-site collection included freezing the samples with liquid nitrogen or dry ice or collecting the samples fresh and returning them to the lab. Once in...