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....

Voluntary intake by Hyacinth Macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)

In August 2004 two juvenile Hyacinth Macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthus) arrived at Temaikèn Wild Animal Park. Their feathers were in very bad condition and they weighed 1,230 g on average. At the very beginning, a diet with a great variety of ingredients was given. Two months later, during a first 5-day period leftovers were measured. At that moment the animals weighed...

Preliminary studies of flying foxes’ diet intake as an integration work between keepers and nutrition staff at Temaikèn

During 6 months, as part of an integration experience, keepers and nutrition staff worked together to study the flying foxes’ (Pteropus vampyrus and Pteropus lylei) diet intake at the Temaikèn Wild Animal Park. At the beginning of the study, animals weighed an average of 763.84 g in the case of the former, and 398.8 in the case of the latter....

Basics of ruminant animal nutrition

Cellulose is the main constituent of plant cell walls and is the most abundant carbohydrate on earth. With exception of some snails and arthropods, animals lack the necessary enzymes for the digestion of cellulose. Bacteria and fungi are the main cellulose digesters. Animals have coevolved with their feeds, and by different strategies, herbivores use plants as source of most nutrients....

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...

Microbiological and temperature evaluation as part of a comprehensive raw meat quality control program

Raw meat and raw meat-based diets are potentially hazardous food items used to maintain zoo carnivores. It is important to monitor handling temperature of meat throughout the preparation process to insure it is maintained below the appropriate threshold temperature (4°C or 40°F). Handling raw meat below this temperature threshold minimizes growth of harmful microorganisms. Three frozen raw meat samples were...

Preliminary efforts on hand-rearing three species of flamingos

Between 2002 and 2005, the Fort Worth Zoo has hand-reared 37 flamingo chicks: nine Caribbean (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber), seventeen lesser (Phoeniconaias minor), and eleven Chilean (Phoenicopterus chilensis). The chicks were raised from hatching to the point of self-feeding. Body weight and formula consumption were measured daily. Feeding schedule transitions (from ten feedings per day to weaning) were based on body...

Summary of polar bear nutrition guidelines

Polar bears, the most carnivorous of the Ursidae family, prey primarily on ringed seals. When brought into captivity, maintaining their nutritional and psychological health can be challenging. Due to the lack of in-depth species-specific research, dietary recommendations for polar bears are formulated considering known requirements of related domestic animals, the diets, and nutrients consumed by healthy captive bears. A balanced...

Animal nutrition activities at the National Academies-National Research Council

One of the primary missions of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies is the publication of a series of reports that deal with animal nutrition. The most well known of these reports are those on Nutrient Requirements of Animals, but periodically additional topics that relate to animal nutrition are addressed. There are currently three projects...

Chemical composition of foods eaten by African colobines compared with Southeast Asian colobines

Nutritional analyses of foods eaten by wild colobine populations can be useful for understanding colobine nutritional needs, crucial for successful maintenance of captive populations. A previous report by Nijboer et al. summarized the mineral and proximate data for browse composition of three species of Southeast Asian colobines. The authors noted that the diets of these wild colobines contained substantially more...

Herbivore carbohydrate nutrient analysis: the next generation

The proximate analysis system attempted to separate dietary carbohydrates into fiber and non-fiber portions. Under this system, any matter unaccounted for after subtraction of ash, crude protein, ether extract, and crude fiber from total dry matter was assumed to be non-fiber carbohydrates. Due to loss of variable amounts of fiber (cellulose and hemicellulose) and lignin during analysis, the proximate analysis...

Browse information at your fingertips – the foragers source

The use of browse to manage dietary requirements of many animal species is becoming more important within zoological institutions. Browse can include shrubs, trees, woody vines and stems, including various plant parts like berries and flowers. Browse is important as a dietary constituent for many captive wild animals, but critical for others. It has also become essential for enrichment purposes...

The effect of terrarium size, egg crate area, stocking density, and time on cricket mortality and the ability to achieve a 1:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio

In order to provide a nutritionally adequate diet for captive insectivorous animals, invertebrates such as crickets and mealworms must be supplemented with calcium. Current methods of supplementation include dusting and gut-loading. The size of the terrarium, the area of egg crates within the terrarium, cricket stocking density, and length of time on the gut loading diet, may all play a...

Application of non-ruminant herbivore nutrition

The nutrition of the horse has perhaps been studied more than the nutrition of any other non-ruminant herbivore. Information about the nutrition of the horse may be of value when formulating diets of some wild non-ruminant herbivores. Of course, quantitative nutrient requirements developed for the horse must be used with caution for other animals, if at all. Knowledge of energy,...

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...

Foundation and function of EAZA Nutrition Group (ENG), providing specialist support for European conservation breeding programmes

Specialist subject advisors (e.g. veterinary, scientific) are increasingly being added to steering committees for zoo-based conservation breeding programmes worldwide; several advisors in nutrition have already been informally appointed within European programmes. Following the lead of AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, the newly inaugurated EAZA Nutrition Group (ENG) seeks to facilitate improved communication and coordination among nutritionists and those requiring nutrition information,...

Selection of proper feeds to assist in the dental management of carnivores

Proper dental care of carnivores in a zoological setting is of utmost concern among zoo professionals. Dental health is based on nutrition, environment, and overall animal health. This paper deals with the nutritional aspect of carnivore health. Zoo carnivores are able to survive on a variety of diets in captivity, but in order to assure proper dental health, feeds which...