FOOD AND FEED SAFETY AND NEW REGULATIONS

Both federal and state agencies oversee the safety and efficacy of commercial livestock and poultry feed and pet food products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under authority provided by the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (Act) promulgates regulations designed to protect the health of humans and animals by requiring that animal feed and pet food be appropriately...

UNDERSTANDING RAW MEAT DIET FORMULATIONS

Concerns over raw meat diet formulations for zoological carnivores have included microbial contamination and food safety, protein source, and variations in nutrient composition and product consistency. The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act along with the 2012 AVMA Policy on Raw Pet Foods have heightened awareness of food safety concerns related to raw meat diet formulations. This awareness...

INGREDIENT VARIABILITY, STABILITY, AND PROCESSING EFFECTS

Often the assumption when constructing diets for pets is that nutrient requirements are a fixed number found in a table. Likewise, we often hear of nutrient values for ingredients and assume that they are a constant. Common sense tells us both assumptions are false. For ingredients these values are subject to wide ranges in variation from supplier to supplier, from...

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...

VITILIGO ASSOCIATED WITH HYPOVITAMINOSIS D IN MALAYAN FLYING FOX (PTEROPUS VAMPYRUS) AND ISLAND FLYING FOX (PTEROPUS HYPOMELANUS)

Eight Malayan flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus) and three island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) presented for varying degrees of skin depigmentation of the wing membranes, face, and feet. Lesions were observed 6 months after the bats were placed in a newly constructed indoor-only exhibit. Skin biopsies indicated segmental loss of melanin pigment within the epidermis; skin scrapes and culture results were...

FEED-RELATED HYPERVITAMINOSIS D IN A CAPTIVE FLOCK OF BUDGERIGARS (MELOPSITTACUS UNDULATAS): MORBIDITY, MORTALITIES AND PATHOLOGIC LESIONS

In the spring of 2012, the Blank Park Zoo began suffering mortalities in a flock of 229 captive Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) housed in an interactive public-feeding aviary. Clinical signs included weakness, posterior paresis, inability to fly, central nervous signs or acute death. Gross and microscopic lesions were not apparent in acutely affected deceased birds. Many birds had evidence of trauma,...

OBSERVATIONS ON WEIGHT LOSS AND FECAL CONSISTENCY IN GIANT ANTEATERS (MYRMECOPHAGA TRIDACTYLA) DURING THREE TRANSITIONS FROM A MIXED NATURAL IN-HOUSE TO COMMERCIAL COMPLETE DIETS

Giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) are highly specialized insectivores with low energy requirements compared with similar-sized mammals and an exceptional feeding apparatus and behavior.6,7 Common health problems which have been attributed to suboptimal nutrition are loose stool or diarrhea, anorexia, tongue tip constriction or vitamin K deficiency.4,8 Traditional, natural in-house diets typically include dog kibble, cereals, honey, milk products, meat and...

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,...

BODY CONDITION SCORING INDEX FOR FEMALE AFRICAN ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA) VALIDATED WITH ULTRASOUND MEASUREMENTS OF SUBCUTANEOUS FAT

A major problem of zoo African elephants is ovarian acyclicity, which preliminary studies suggest may be related to obesity. To test this relationship, methods to accurately quantify body condition and obesity in elephants are warranted. Body condition scoring (BCS), an indirect means of measuring body condition based on visual evaluation of subcutaneous fat and key skeletal elements, has become an...

FAUNA: DIET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE FOR HEALTHY ANIMALS

We all want to feed our animals well; within zoos and aquariums different stakeholders concentrate on different aspects of feeding. Some may be mostly concerned with the nutrient content, others with the way food is presented. The physical and behavioral health of animals may be a principal focus and sustainability, efficiency and costs are becoming increasingly significant drivers. Recording and...

NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF FEEDSTUFFS FED TO ANIMALS IN THE NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS OF SOUTH AFRICA

Processes of preparing balanced diets, limitations in the supply of suitable feedstuffs to captive animals and their diversity in the zoological community are special challenges to diet management. The knowledge of the nutrients needed by the animal and what feeds will supply those nutrients, is one of the most important steps in managing diet of animals in captivity. In the...

BROWSE – HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? THE CHALLENGES OF ASSESSING BROWSE INTAKE

Browse is an important dietary component for many herbivore diets. Animals such as giraffe, black rhino, kudu, bongo, gerenuk, porcupines and many others consume a significant amount of browse as their natural diet. Providing sufficient quantities and appropriate browse species is one of the most challenging aspects of feeding animal collections in a zoological setting. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we...

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON OF ENRICHED DIET ITEMS FED TO SYNGNATHIDS

Seahorses and other Syngnathid species are commonly showcased in many zoos and aquariums worldwide. However, very little is known about the nutrient composition of the wild diets of these animals making it difficult to properly formulate an adequate diet for these animals when managed under human care. Current feeding strategies vary widely between institutions, often involving the enrichment (through various...

A GUIDE TO DECIDING ON A CENTRALIZED VS DECENTRALIZED COMMISSARY APPROACH IN A ZOO SETTING

Likely since the inception of zoological collections, there has been a debate over whether it is most efficient and effective to have a centralized or a decentralized commissary operation. Proponents of both types of operations know the bonuses and shortfalls of their own approach, as well as their perceptions of each for the “path not chosen.” Both approaches have been...

COMMISSARY DESIGN: A TALE OF TWO COMMISSARIES

“It [is] the best of times, it [is] the worst of times,” to paraphrase Charles Dickens. Designing a commissary is one of the most important and long lasting effects a commissary manager and/or nutritionist can have on a nutrition program. While specific details will vary by institution and by program, the basic considerations are similar. Experiences during planning and construction...

A FIELD GUIDE TO AZA ACCREDITATION FROM A NUTRITION PERSPECTIVE

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) maintains a rigorous accreditation process in order to ensure that AZA-member zoos meet the highest standards of animal care, welfare and management; veterinary care; business management; education; and conservation responsibility. This process is managed by the Accreditation Commission, and is implemented at individual facilities via the inspection team (a team of three –...

NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE NUTRITIONAL ECOLOGY OF WILD GORILLAS: IMPLICATIONS FOR CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

Over the past decade there have been a number of studies on wild gorilla (Gorilla spp.) nutrition and we now have a more comprehensive database on the nutritional composition of wild gorilla foods including macronutrients, fatty acids, amino acids and minerals. I will review these findings and discuss a new approach to examining the diets and feeding patterns of gorillas...

DIET DIGESTIBILITY IN COLOBINE MONKEYS: IMPLICATIONS FOR DIETS AND DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

This study quantified the composition and diet digestibility of 19 diets consumed by 11 groups of colobine monkeys (four species: Colobus guereza, Trachypithecus obscurus, Colobus angolensis, and Rhinopithecus bieti) in the US and in China. Each digestibility trial had a 10- day adaptation period and a three-day collection period. The diets consumed averaged 17.1 ± 0.9% crude protein, 24.4 ±...

THE INTERACTION BETWEEN VARIATION IN DIGESTIVE EFFICIENCY, VITAMIN D STATUS, CALCIUM METABOLOISM, AND BONE DENSITY IN COMMON MARMOSETS (CALLITHRIX JACCHUS)

Despite its long history of captive management, nutrition and dietary husbandry of common marmosets remains a major concern among colony managers in the United States (2004 survey by the Marmoset Research Group of the Americas). Nutrient requirements for the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) are poorly characterized, and dietary husbandry of this species has been informed more by practical and anecdotal...

WHY THE NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF THE DIET OF BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS) IS BEST ASSESSED ON AN ENERGY BASIS RATHER THAN A DRY MATTER BASIS

Dietary nutrients can be compared in three ways: ‘as fed’, or relative to either dry matter or energy content. Most published literature that evaluates the diet of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, compares nutrient content relative to dry matter, but dolphins consume a diet of whole fish and invertebrates that varies in fat and water content and energy density. The quantity...

MODELING INDIVIDUAL ENERGY STATUS FOR IMPROVED ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

Energy use may represent the most direct gauge of physiological activity and thus relative nutrient requirements, however nutrient requirements are generally reported relative to intake or bodyweight, assumptions which make it difficult to confidently estimate nutrient targets for individuals and species. Managing energy balance in captive exotic animals is even more challenging due to the limitations of their environment including...

INTAKE AND GROWTH RATES OF THREE PASSERINE SPECIES AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

Whenever possible, avian parents are tasked with raising their young. Occasionally circumstances dictate that young are pulled for hand rearing. Protocols are in place for different species that indicate food items and amounts to feed as well as developmental indicators and husbandry parameters. Avian species have different diets as adults but many utilize similar food items to feed their young....

BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS IN THREE SPECIES OF AGALYCHNIS SP.

In the normal animal, the homeostasic level of blood glucose is mantained by the equilibrium between glucose supply and removal, as a result of a finely balance system of hormonal interactions.1 Reference glucose values can vary depending of the sex, weight, management and feeding systems, among others.3 Several studies have analyzed blood parameters for frogs, however, no previous studies have...

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...

CASE STUDY: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEIGHT GAIN AND OFFSPRING SEX IN AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANTS (LOXODONTA AFRICANA AFRICANA) AT THE SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK

Facing a male biased offspring sex ratio (7:4) in the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) population at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (SP), the overall weight and weight gain of the breeding females was analyzed and the weight gain prior to calf conception was determined. The breeding females arrived at the SP heavier than similarly aged Zambian female...

BIOACTIVE FACTORS IN MILK: COMPARISONS ACROSS NONHUMAN PRIMATES AND HUMANS

Milk is not just a food, but also a means by which mammalian mothers signal biochemically to their offspring. Milk contains a host of signaling molecules that influence growth and development of offspring. Some of these signaling molecules have been implicated as risk factors or as being protective against the early development of metabolic diseases in humans, such as obesity...

Comparison of proximate composition of domestic cat (Felis catus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), African lion (Panthera leo), and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) maternal milk with exotic cat hand-rearing formulae

The aims of this study are (1) to compare proximate composition of milks of five felids, the domestic cat (Felis catus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), African lion (Panthera leo), and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) to establish if there exist species-specific differences in felid maternal milk composition, (2) to conduct proximate analyses on commercial hand-rearing formulae...

Milk composition of the bongo antelope (Tragelaphus eurycerus) through lactation

Bongo antelopes (Tragelaphus eurycerus) are a species of antelope that originate from Africa. The gestation length is about 285 days. Bongo antelope calves weigh about 20 kg when born. Adult females weigh between 210-230 kg, while adult males weigh 240-270 kg. Young reach sexual maturity when approximately two years old. The milk samples used in this study were part of...

Hornbill diets at San Diego Zoo Global: a review

Hornbills (Bucerotidae) are a family of birds that include 14 genera and 54 species spanning sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.7 They are easily identified by their long decurved bill and casque.7 The smallest hornbills range in body weight from 83-135 g (Black dwarf-hornbill, Tockus hartlaubi; Red-billed dwarf hornbill, Tockus camurus) while the largest can reach body weights of 2230-4580 g...