Implications of Managing a Mother-Reared Orangutan Indoors During Early Infancy

In September, healthy male orangutan was born and raised by the dam at the National Zoological Park. However, due to enclosure limitations and timing of the year, the pair would have no access to the outdoor enclosure until May. Knowing that milk was not likely to contain biologically significant levels of vitamin D, and access to UV lighting was not...

Regurgitation and Reingestion in Captive Great Apes

Two male western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and one female northwest Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus) at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium have exhibited recurring regurgitation and reingestion (R&R) behavior. No negative health effects have been noted related to this behavior in the two gorillas; however, the orangutan has had multiple cavities that are suspected to be related...

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...

Cholesterol concentrations in free-ranging gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and (Gorilla beringei) and Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus)

Cholesterol concentrations in captive gorillas and orangutans vary widely within species and average approximately 244 mg/dl for gorillas and 169 mg/dl for orangutans as previously published. The International Species Inventory System reports higher concentrations of 275 and 199 mg/dl for gorillas and orangutans, respectively. It is unknown if these values were typical and/or were influenced by captive management. To answer...

Case Study: Elimination diet for a female orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus abelii) with digestive problems at the Toronto Zoo

Ramai (ISIS #20164) is a female Sumatran orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus abeiii) who was born at the Toronto Zoo on 4 October 1985. She was parent-reared, and currently weighs approximately 62 kg. Ramai has had a history of loose stool and skin problems. A fecal scoring chart was developed to illustrate the range of fecal consistency observed in orangutans at the...

Energy and protein supplies to captive orangutans

The diet of Sumatran orangutans at Perth Zoo was reviewed and altered to simulate more closely foods available in the wild. Diversity of offered plants was increased to over eighty species. Cereal based concentrates were replaced by foods of animal origin, including fish and cheese. Dietary supplements were eliminated. The proportion of different foods was adjusted to meet Dietary Reference...

A comparative study of blood lipids, electrolytes, and stress levels between captive and semi-captive orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) under tropical conditions

Blood samples were collected from 27 orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) (14 captive and 13 semicaptive) and were analyzed for triglycerides, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC), sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, glucose, Cortisol levels, total white blood cells (WBC) and WBC differential count. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in total cholesterol and HDLC level between...

The effects of fiber type and fiber levels on digestibility and volatile fatty acid formation in the Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

The diets of free-ranging orangutans are high in structural cell wall material, which comprises the fiber fraction in plants [Hamilton and Galdikas, 1994]. Microbial populations residing in the hindgut accomplish fiber digestion via fermentation. Animals use volatile fatty acids, end products of fiber fermentation, as a source of energy. Readily available produce items contain small amounts of fermentable fiber [Schmidt...

The potential to increase neutral detergent fiber levels in ape diets using readily available produce

Many studies report what wild orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) select for food. Hamilton and Galdikas (1994) determined wild diets contained dietary neutral detergent fiber (NDF) levels of 75%. NDF represents structural polysaccharides (cellulose and hemicellulose (HMC)) potentially digested by microbial fermentation in the lower gut. Fiber presence in the gut and fermentation end-product production have been shown to prevent obesity and...