Animal Nutrition

Scientific Papers

© Rory Harper

Grading fecal consistency in an omnivorous carnivore, the brown bear: Abandoning the concept of uniform feces (De Cuyper et al., 2021)

February 2021

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.

Circulating nutrients and hematological parameters in managed African elephants (Loxodonta Africana) over a 1‐year period (Wood et al., 2020)

July 2020

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.

Daily lettuce supplements promote foraging behavior and modify the gut microbiota in captive frugivores (Greene et al., 2020).

July 2020

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.

Dietary management of hypercholesterolemia in a bachelor group of zoo-housed Slender-tailed meerkats (Suricata suricatta) (Dobbs et al., 2020)

October 2020

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.

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Photo credit: Twycross Zoo

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