Does B vitamin supplementation increase survival or weight gain stranded California sea lions

When pinnipeds enter a rehabilitation facility, they have often fasted for an unknown period of time and are nutritionally deficient. They often are then fed dead fish. Certain species of fish are deficient in vitamin B1, or thiamine, as they contain thiaminases, enzymes which break down this vitamin after the fish have died. Deficiencies in these vitamins can result in...

Effect of lutein supplementation on blood carotenoids and vitamins in a variety of marine mammals

Lutein, an oxygenated carotenoid concentrated in the retina in a variety of species, may enhance ocular health (Mares-Perlman et al., 2002). Given the high incidence of ocular pathology in captive marine mammals (Dunn et al., 1996), it was hypothesized that a lutein supplement may protect against some of these conditions. This trial examined the response of different marine mammals to...

Palatability of bucker ensiled willow as a winter diet item for browsing herbivores

Browsing herbivores in zoological institutions may be severely limited in the amount of natural browse offered, especially in winter months, with implications for gastrointestinal and overall animal health. A large quantity of freshly cut willow browse (~6100 kg) was ensiled in June 2010 after chipping the product into a lined 15’ x 6’ x 6’ container with molasses (~4% of...

An evaluation of browse silage production as a feed component for zoo herbivores

Browse is an essential part of many zoo animals’ diet. Our prevailing temperate climate in Southern Ontario makes it impossible to provide enough fresh browse year round. Therefore browse is preserved by ensiling. In this research we compared harvest time, nutrient content and time of preservation. Apple (Malus domestica) was used as the sole browse plant species.Leaves, stems and immature...

Examination of palatability of extruded primate diet using three flavors

Commercial diets are often essential parts of captive primate nutrition. However, consumption of dry extruded products can be difficult to encourage. Food and flavor preferences have been observed in captive primates and may be affected by palatability. This study examines the palatability of a commercial extruded primate diet when compared to 3 diets containing new flavors. Mazuri® Primate Browse Biscuit...

Nutritional and physical characteristics of commercial hand-feeding formulas for parrots

Hand-rearing is a common practice for the propagation of psittacines, however, research on their nutrition is limited and the neonatal requirements are not well understood. We analyzed the nutrient composition and physical characteristics of 15 commercially available parrot handfeeding formulas. Formulas were compared with the average nutritional content of the crops of free living Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) chicks. When the formulas were prepared...

Prevalence of antibiotic resistance in zoo animal foods

Antibiotic resistant bacteria have been isolated from various human foods. These findings suggest that the food chain may play a role in disseminating antibiotic resistance to consumers. We will discuss the principals of antibiotic resistance and our recent study investigating the presence, identification, functionality, and transferability of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes isolated from zoo animal foods. A handout with an extended...

Napoleon didn’t conquer Europe by feeding his army rotten tomatoes or how to get the most from your produce investment

Proper handling and storage of produce items can increase shelf life thus positively impacting budget. At the Saint Louis Zoo we have tried various approaches to storage and have a system that works well for us. From which items to hold in the Kitchen area and to which produce items to hold in the cooler and the storage method that extends product integrity,...

Food safety and sanitation

Food Safety and Sanitation is a big aspect of our daily operation and by providing a safe and clean environment you can maintain quality food for the entire collection. The purpose is to help others understand that by doing everything possible to reduce and, or eliminate the threat of food-borne illnesses, that you can keep your food, equipment and staff...

Commissary standards and assessment

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (CZBG) developed the “standards and assessment program” (S&A) as a coaching tool to assist the curatorial staff and supervisory keepers in animal operations at the zoo. This program tailors each section to meet the needs of that animal area following the standards set up by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Association of...

Dietary iron absoption ant the role of tannins in Eastern (Diceros bicornis michaeli) and Southern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor)

Three diet treatments were fed for at least 6 months at 6 institutions to a total of 11 black rhinoceros to assess the effect of tannins on iron status. Diet treatments were: 1.) a pellet/mixed hay diet, which reflected the diet historically fed; 2.) a pellet/mixed hay diet with quebracho added to the pellets as a source of iron binding...

Hand-rearing and growth of two ibex (Capra ibex nubiana) kids from 24 hours to weaning at 105 days of age

Two male ibex kids were hand-reared from approximately 24 h after birth. Goat production and exotic captive small ruminant management systems were researched and compared to National Research Council (NRC) energy requirements in order to design a strategy for optimal feeding and growth. Weights were collected on each ibex daily or every other day throughout rearing to evaluate gain and...

Vitamin analysis reliability: A case study testing supplements and supplemented meat products for vitamin levels at three commercial laboratories in the United States

Regularly scheduled laboratory analysis of feed samples in zoological institutions is a necessary practice for maintenance of the highest levels of quality control. As such, factors such as cost, stability of product, and available storage environment may influence sampling protocols at each institution. The choice of laboratory used for analysis generally considers location and shipping concerns, availability of testing, methodology...

Selected eucalyptus preference by the koalas (Phascolarctos cinsereus) at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo has the largest group of Queensland koalas in captivity outside Australia. Many of these koalas are on loan in different facilities through North America. Due to the large number of koalas, San Diego Zoo Global maintains an over 4 ha plantation of eucalyptus. A preliminary study conducted at the San Diego Zoo found a variability in...

Quantifying the activity of captive Asian elephants through the use of a tri-axial accelerometer GPS, and behavioral observation

Quantifying activity levels and specific behaviors in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) has proven challenging and yet is important for managing these animals in zoos. Wild elephants spend a large portion of their day foraging; while in captivity, this activity is significantly decreased. To reduce the development of health risks such as obesity and the formation of undesirable behaviors, new...

Feeding behavior of a herd of Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) at the San Deigo Zoo

The objective of this study was to determine the feeding behavior of a herd of 2.5 Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) (Table 1) and compare this to feeding behavior in other zoo and free-ranging giraffe. In May 2020, 16 h of observations (0500 through 2100) were divided into four time periods (early morning, late morning, early afternoon, evening) and the...

Evaluation of hand-rearing formula for greater Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

Since opening in May 1972, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (historically known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park) has hand-raised a number of rhinoceros calves, including southern white (Ceratotherium simum simum), black (Diceros bicornis michaeli) and greater Indian (Rhinoceros unicornis). In order to improve success rates and generate appropriate protocols with any handreared neonate species, it is important...

Evaluating the stability of nutrients of cut eucalyptus sideroxylon browse for koalas

The objective of this study was to evaluate the stability of leaf nutrient contents in Eucalyptus sideroxylon browse branches over the course of one week. Twelve branches were cut and transported to the koala barn within 1 h. These branches were kept in a walk-in cooler and three branches were sampled 1.5, 45, 93, and 141 h post-harvest. The branches...

Comparison between two methods for measuring pigmentation of frog’s skin

Tomato frogs belong to the family Mycrohylidae with three recognized species: D. antongilli, D. guineti and D. insularis. All are endemic to Madagascar, and only found in the northern part of the island. These reddish-colored frogs earned their name due their appearance, being similar to tomatoes, especially when they inflate. True colors, however, can vary a great deal, presenting with...

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-...

Validation of a radioimmunoassay for Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) insulin

Insulin is a principle mediator of metabolic and reproductive function and could provide an indicator for health status in elephants as in humans, equines and other species. This study was intended to validate a radioimmunoassay for insulin in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Four Asian elephant cows (age 11-39 y) at the Fort Worth Zoo were fed coastal hay only overnight,...

Paca feeding in captivity

The paca (Cuniculus paca) is the biggest rodent in Costa Rica. During 2009 and 2010, a national survey was carried out to determine the actual nutritional management of this species. Diet ingredients and proportions were surveyed by region and the composition categorized and analyzed for 64 farms and 558 animals. Diets offered varied in ingredients including produce (fruits, tubercules, legumes),...

Milk composition of the white rhinoceros (Cerathotherium simum) through the first year of lactation

Lactation is a fundamental adaptation of mammals with milk being the first food for all mammals and the diversity of mammals is reflected in the diversity of lactation strategies and in the composition of milks from different species (Hayssen 1992). Although all milks have the same basic nutrients in common, the proportion of fat, sugar, protein and minerals varies widely...

The development and evaluation of a gut-loading diet for feeder crickets formulated to provide a balanced nutrient package for insectivorous amphibians and reptiles

Obligate insectivores in their natural habitats consume a wide variety of insect species. In captivity, the diversity of prey items is limited to very few species which has led to nutritional deficiencies. Zoological institutions, therefore, have a responsibility to administer feeding programs which include supplementation techniques that compensate for known shortcomings in the nutrient composition of their feeder insects. Gut-loading...

Monoozygenase conversion in two anura species

It is unknown whether pro-vitamin A supplements used in captive diets of amphibian insectivores provide the animals with nutrients they can convert for their vitamin A needs. This research sought to evaluate if activity of ?–carotene 15,15’-monooxygenase was present in the liver and small intestine of two anura species, as gauged by the conversion of ?–carotene to retinal. Liver and...

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...

Growth curves and their implications in hand-rearing monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus)

Monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus) were hand-reared over two chick seasons spanning from 2010-2011. Information on the growth curve of chicks hand-raised in 2010 was used to develop a feeding protocol for the 2011 season. This protocol was focused to address the problem areas of delayed growth and then excessive growth experienced by the baby parrots hand-reared in 2010. The 2011...

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...

Energetics and food needs of free-ranging wild mammals, birds, and reptiles

The minimum metabolic rates (“basal” for endotherms and “standard” for ectotherms) of birds, mammals and reptiles are determined mainly by body size (mass), but that explanation may not work for field metabolic rates (FMR, or total daily energy requirement), which include additional energetic costs of activity, temperature regulation, foraging and food digestion, growth and reproduction, and social interactions, along with...