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...