Case study: Seasonal diets for brown bears (Ursus arctos) at Brookfield Zoo: successful implementation led to reduced weight and improved behavior

From 1995 – 2008 the brown bears (Ursus arctos) at Brookfield Zoo were fed a standard diet consisting of carnivore meat products, fish (seasonally), dog food, apples, carrots, lettuce, bread, and a small assortment of fruit as treats. The diet increased or decreased in amount based on the bears’ motivation for food (i.e., by season), but the diet composition was...

Iron deficiency anemia in captive Malayan tapir calves (Tapirus indicus)

Subclinical iron deficiency anemia was diagnosed in a captive neonatal female Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) through blood samples obtained as part of an in-house training program for venipuncture. Routine blood testing performed at day 2 of age was within in-house and ISIS normal values for this species. Microcytic hypochromic anemia (HCT = 16 %; MCV = 38.4 fL; MCH =...

Dietary taurine supplementation and cardiac function in the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla): preliminary findings

Taurine is not considered an essential amino acid in most mammals as it can be synthesized from cysteine. Cats are an exception, lacking an enzyme necessary for this conversion and a lack of dietary taurine has been linked to central retinal degeneration and dilated cardiomyopathy. This form of feline cardiomyopathy is reversible with a dietary taurine supplement. More recently, a...

Normal urinary mineral excretion levels in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

Metabolic bone disease has occurred in several incidences of elephant neonates hand-reared on milk replacement formula. Monitoring for metabolic bone disease historically has been done through serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations. Serum concentrations are tightly regulated and changes in concentration are typically not evident until skeletal changes have already occurred. Urinary calcium and phosphorus excretion levels may provide earlier evidence...

Study of calcium metabolism in captive elephants by means of feeding trail

Hypocalcemia in elephants is a concern that needs attention. Cases of calcium-responsive dystocia have been reported anecdotally and the number of bone fractures in hospitalized working elephants in Thailand is relatively high. A feeding trial in 4 Asian elephants at the Rotterdam zoo showed that an increase in the calcium concentration of the roughage resulted in a significant rise in...

Influence of diet on serum chemistry values in captive giraffe over four years

Over the past several years, herbivore diet formulations have transitioned toward lower starch and sugar and higher concentrations of structural carbohydrates such as neutral detergent fiber. Following the Giraffe Nutrition Workshop in 2005, recommendations were released that encouraged diets containing less than 5% starch and less than 0.5% phosphorus for captive giraffe. In December 2005, seven giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata)...

Normal serum vitamin E values in giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

Baseline serum alpha-tocopherol (alpha-toc) values in captive giant anteaters have not previously been defined. Cats and dogs are typical models for carnivore nutritional physiology and may prove useful for evaluating vitamin E (vit E) nutrition in zoo carnivores. The objective of this study was to determine serum alpha-toc as a measure of vit E status in captive anteaters, for comparison...

Dietary treatment of iron storage disease in captive birds of paradise (Paradisaea raggiana)

Elevated serum iron parameters were lowered through dietary manipulation in captive Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) using a modification of previously published low-iron diets. Study birds were part of a captive breeding program consisting of two males and one female, captive born, 3.5 to 9 years of age. Serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), percent transferrin saturation, body weight,...

Effect of dietary nutrient level and source on feeder mouse nutrient composition

Whole prey items may contain lower nutrient levels than desired for feeding exotic carnivores. The purpose of this trial was to gather preliminary data on the effect of different dietary treatments on the nutrient composition of mice at various ages. Dietary enrichment with vitamin E and chelated minerals in general did not improve total body levels of most nutrients, but...

Evaluation of nutrient composition of common invertebrate feeders fed different supplemental diets

While the complete nutrient composition of invertebrates commonly fed to insectivorous animals has been studied, research evaluating the differences among supplemental diets marketed to improve their overall nutrient composition is limited. Previous studies have focused on calcium intake in crickets, and to a lesser extent in mealworms, but diets for superworms have not been evaluated. This study evaluated the proximate...

“We’re gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse” or; contract purchasing

Purchasing contracts are an integral part of a Nutrition program’s procurement arsenal. Versatile and adaptive, they are one way to secure a consistent source and pricing of a product. However they can also be limiting and result in delivery of an inferior, albeit more economical, product. We will examine the advantages and disadvantages of contract purchasing and development of specification...

A survey of the nutrient content and intake of the dry season diet consumed by captive Grand Cayman iguanas (Cyclura lewisi)

Nutrient concentrations were determined in foods consumed by both free ranging and captive Grand Cayman iguanas (Cyclura lewisi). Plant collection and nutrient intake was measured during the dry season, when mating is known to occur. Fourteen species of plants known to be consumed by free ranging iguanas, or thought to be historically consumed when their distribution was not limited, were...

So your director wants a farm in the zoo

It seems that humans have always craved animal contact. Even at a zoo, a place designed for wild animals, visitors want and even expect to be able to touch an animal. Petting corrals, touch tanks, feeding stations, etc. are the most popular exhibits at a zoo, especially for families with young children. Contact areas can provide a valuable educational experience...

Survey of nutrient concentrations in the diet, serum, and urine of giraffe maintained in North American zoos

In order to elucidate the causes of urolithiasis in giraffe, a comprehensive survey was initiated in September 2004 of giraffe within North American zoological institutions. Giraffe feeding practices and medical histories were examined, and holding institutions were recruited to submit samples of feeds, water, serum, urine and feces, and asked to participate in a feeding trial.

Medical considerations when exhibiting multiple taxa in large aquarium systems

Large multi-taxa aquatic systems are often challenging for both husbandry and veterinary personnel. A wide variety of diseases can afflict entire systems with potential medical considerations for all exposed taxa. Largely for logistic reasons, the most common method of disease treatment is the addition of chemotherapeutics directly to the aquatic environment. However, the potential for species-specific toxicoses associated with some...

Polar bears: aspects of handrearing

Zoos faced with the issue of handrearing polar bear cubs have found success with various formulas. Despite many common ingredients in zoos’ polar bear milk replacers, adjustments were made to accommodate specific medical or nutritional needs of the cub(s), and consequently there were differences in solids/energy offered and weaning age. Cubs from three institutions (San Francisco, Brookfield, and San Diego...

Nutritional and bacteriologic evaluation as part of a raw meat quality control program

Six lots of raw horsemeat diet (Zoo Carnivore Diet, Dallas Crown, Inc., Kaufman, TX 75142 USA) were analyzed in triplicate for selected nutritional and bacteriologic components. Aliquots of frozen meat were submitted to a commercial laboratory (Dairy One, Inc., Ithaca, NY 14850 USA) to determine proximate composition, mineral levels, and gross energy. Additional aliquots were thawed at 10°C for 44...

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...

A retrospective study evaluating vitamin E supplementation in pelicans and plasma alpha-tocopherol concentrations in pelicans, storks, and flamingos

A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of two vitamin E supplement forms in pink-backed pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens). The forms were a paste supplying 100 IU vitamin E daily or a capsule supplying 10.5 IU vitamin E daily. Baseline blood alpha-tocopherol concentrations were 7.15 ug/ml in 1998. After 10 months receiving vitamin E in the capsule form, the...

Nutritional challenges associated with feeding a multispecies exhibit: a series of case studies

Feeding multi-species exhibits can be challenging in many ways. The first is ensuring that each species, as well as, each individual has access to a diet without excessive competition from another species. The second is ensuring that animals with different nutrient requirements are able to consume the appropriate diet. The third is to ensure that animals do not consume a...

Epidemiology of selected infectious diseases in zoo ungulates: single species versus mixed species exhibits

The study analyses the epidemiology of selected infectious diseases of 65 different species within the four families of bovids, cervids, camelids and equids in one Czech and nine German zoos. It is based on a survey of all epidemiologic data since 1998. Furthermore 900 blood samples taken between 1998 and 2005 are screened for the presence of antibodies against selected...

A preliminary evaluation of a hand-rearing formula for southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) calves

Exotic neonates may be hand-raised in captivity for various reasons. Records and evaluations of these hand-rearing efforts, the protocols used to achieve typical species growth and behavior, and data on the composition of mother’s milk, are needed to increase the success of hand-rearing a number of exotic species, including the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum). Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK)...

Colitis in captive tamarins displayed on semi-natural mixed species exhibits in a North American zoo

Callitrichids have long been kept in zoological exhibits and in laboratory colonies. They are considered to be difficult to maintain and breed in captivity. Most of the species are considered to be endangered, threatened or vulnerable. Some causes of morbidity and mortality include inappropriate housing and diet, disease and trauma related to social stress, wasting marmoset syndrome, infectious diseases and...

Kori bustard nutrition and dietary husbandry

Kori bustards (Ardeotis kori) are reported to be omnivorous, consuming mostly insect and plant material in their grassland habitat. A complete nutrient analysis of these food items and their contribution to the overall diet has not been determined. The gastrointestinal tract of the kori is typical of an insectivorous bird, but to date they have been fed in captivity as...

Complications associated with diet manipulation in callimico (Callimico goeldii)

The diet traditionally fed to Callimico goeldii in North American institutions has included a canned, nutritionally complete food combined with fruits, vegetables and insects. There has been a long-standing question as to whether the diet could be contributing to health issues in this species, particularly renal disease. Although, no direct correlation between the diet and renal disease has been documented,...

An update on giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) response to dietary fiber form and carbohydrate profile: implications for animal health

An experimental coarse browser supplement (EF) and a mixture of 75% Mazuri Browser Breeder and 25% Omelene 200 (GF) were used to evaluate the effects of dietary physical form and carbohydrate profile on six non-lactating adult female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) in a modified reversal study using seven 21 day periods. Individually housed giraffe were fed ad libitum alfalfa hay,...

Evaluation of zoological hoofstock supplements

Traditionally, U.S. zoos have fed two types of forage to exotic hoofstock species, primarily a legume (usually alfalfa, Medicago sativa) or grass hay(s). In addition to the forage, a grain supplement is added primarily as a carrier for vitamins and minerals, but also for supplemental energy. This has been the diet of choice for most ruminant and non-ruminant species with...

Exhibiting animals in large naturalistic exhibit: without prey or predator

Modern zoos are increasingly inclined to exhibit animals in more naturalistic surroundings, often in large mixed species exhibits, and the Biodôme de Montréal is no exception. The Biodôme is subdivided into four sections representing specific ecosystems. The First ecosystem, the tropical rainforest, represents Amazonia and all species of trees and animals are from South America. The Laurentian forest, the St....

A contribution to the trace element nutrition of captive black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis)

Due to the potential involvement of trace mineral imbalances in health problems observed in captive rhinoceroses, there has been recent interest in trace mineral provision by and absorption from captive diets. In one investigation, forage of free-ranging black rhinoceroses contained, on average, 6.5 (range: 3.0-12.2) mg copper (Cu)/kg dry matter (DM), 113 (29-215) mg iron (Fe)/kg DM, 89 (11-269) mg...

Fatty acid status of free-ranging and captive black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis): correlation to the use of grain-based products

It has been suspected that the fatty acid (FA) status of captive black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis) differs drastically from their free-ranging conspecifics, due to the difference in FA pattern between the natural forage and the captive diet. Natural forage of black rhinoceros, and temperate browse, contains a n-6/n-3 FA ratio (expressed as % of total FA) of 0.1-0.3. In contrast,...