© Rory Harper
A study in Zoo Biology graded faecal consistency in nine zoo-housed brown bears fed a variety of diets:
✔Six-point scale established for uniform faeces;
✔Additional grading system for faeces with dual consistencies (observed in 11% of all faeces);
✔More vegetation or whole prey seemed to be associated with firmer faeces;
✔Faecal consistency is affected by diet in this species and can be used for gut health monitoring.
A study published in Zoo Biology investigated the circulating nutrients and hematological parameters in zoo-housed African elephants, over a one-year period:
✔Seasonal changes in circulating nutrients;
✔African elephants fed mixed feedstuff & fortified pellet diets may not need Vitamin E supplementation.
✔Assessment of circulating nutrients provides evidence for better elephant management in captivity.
A study in Zoo Biology investigated the effects of daily lettuce supplements on the behaviour and gut microbiota of captive ruffed lemurs:
✔The lemurs (especially younger individuals) consistently foraged on the lettuce during the study period;
✔Enrichment of potentially-beneficial microbes in the guts;
✔Lettuce provision is potentially beneficial to captive frugivores.
Captive meerkats are prone to high cholesterol levels, which can lead to health problems. A study in JZAR investigated the impact of a new diet on cholesterol levels in a group of zoo-housed meerkats:
✔New diet with lower saturated fat & cholesterol implemented;
✔Reduction of cholesterol levels in all individual meerkats;
✔Good body condition score & weight reported after new diet introduction.
Photo credit: Twycross Zoo