Articles 91-100

Open trial to determine voluntary food intake in hospitalized cats

Nathalie Priymenko*, Claire Besson*, Isabelle Lesponne**, Patrick Verwaerde**

* Unity of Nutrition, ** Unity of Anesthesia and Critical care, National Veterinary School of Toulouse, 23 chemin des Capelles, 31076 Toulouse Cedex, France

Known to induce clinical complication, anorexia appears as a frequent sign in ill cats. The feeding behavior of cats would be deeply modified in a stressful environment, however the incidence of caloric deficiency remains unclear in cats hospitalized in standard conditions. The aim of the present study was to investigate the daily food intake in hospitalized cats. This pilot experiment has been carried out as an open trial, including all the cats admitted in the National Veterinary School of Toulouse which required a more than 48 hours hospitalization. Cats receiving enteral nutritional support (or tube feeding) or parenteral nutrition were excluded.
Twelve cats were included on a period of 16 days. Spontaneous food intake was evaluated through the notification of nature and quantity of daily-ingested food in standard hospitalization conditions (i.e. T° around 20°C, cat in specific individual cage without contacts with dogs, frequently proposed meals, specific feline food changed every 2 to 3 hours, medical examination twice a day). In a clinical point of view, body weight, pain score and clinical parameters were recorded every day. The included cats were 6.1 ± 4.9 years old [0.7-15.5 years]. They were mainly European shorthair (8/12). Their initial body weight was 4.4 ± 1.3 kg [2.6-7.2 kg] and 9/12 cats presented a normal body score, one being thin with a muscular amyotrophy, one overweight and one obese, respectively. They were hospitalized mainly for major surgery (7/12) and uronephrologic troubles (4/12).
In these conditions, the spontaneous food intake was 4.01 ± 0.74 g/kg/d (dry matter basis) corresponding to 17.8 ± 3.2 kcal/kg/d. Concurrently, we observed a decrease of body weight during hospitalization (-11.7% at the sixth day). Regarding spontaneous intake, we noticed that 100% of hospitalized cats were unable to cover their own resting energy requirement (RER = 70 kcal.BW0.75) or their daily energy requirement (DER = k.RER). The pain score appeared without direct influence on feeding behavior (pain score 4.2 ± 0.4 vs 4.9 ± 0.6 respectively in cats covering less or more than 50% of their RER). Presence of intravenous fluid therapy failed to modify percentage of daily caloric cover (34.5 ± 7.4 vs 34.9 ± 10.6% with or without, respectively).
This preliminary study shows that standard hospitalization conditions can dramatically inhibit feeding behavior of cats. Even though this approach should be carried out on a larger scale, it appears that clinicians must keep a permanent watchful eye on the daily caloric intake in hospitalized cats.

Feed choice in pigeons with or without L-carnitine supplementation

G.P.J. Janssens1, A.M. Abd-Ellah2, M. Hesta1, S. Millet1 and R.O.M. De Wilde1

1Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Ghent University, Belgium
2Department of Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt

Former studies (Janssens et al., 1998) have demonstrated that L-carnitine supplementation enhances energy utilisation efficiency in pigeons. This study wanted to investigate whether the L-carnitine driven change in energy utilisation would be able to induce differences in feed intake or feedstuff selection by means of a cafetaria experiment in pigeons.
Six groups of adult pigeons (Columba livia domestica L.) - three female and three male groups - were housed per group and used in a double latin square design : per sex three doses of L-carnitine (0, 40 and 80 mg/day/pigeon) (Lonzagroup, Basel, Switzerland) were combined with three groups of four randomly allotted pigeons over three 1 week periods. The periods were buffered with one week for adaptation to the new L-carnitine dose. The daily supplementation was accomplished by intubation of L-carnitine in 0.5 mL distilled water. Fresh water was ad libitum available. The choice feeders consisted of four similar metal troughs that were put in line. Each of them was filled with either corn, wheat, peas or sunflower seeds. These feedstuffs were supplied ad libitum. Each day the feedstuffs were randomly allotted to the four troughs in order to exclude the effect of the trough ranking. In the beginning and at the end of each period, the individual body weights and the intake of the water and the different feedstuffs were measured weekly by weighing. The trial gives data on the food preferences of non-active racing pigeons. However, no significant differences were seen in the selection of feedstuffs or total feed intake between the L-carnitine supplemented and the control group. It is suggested that L-carnitine does not play a significant role in feed intake or feedstuff selection in pigeons.

Janssens et al., 1998. Poult Sci 77: 578-584.

The use of n-alkanes to estimate diet composition, intake and digestibility in sheep fed mixed diets

O. Valiente, A. de Vega, J. A. Guada, C. Castrillo

Departamento de Producción Animal y Ciencia de los Alimentos, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain

The nutritive value of a forage will depend on its intake (understood as both daily amount and composition of the diet, in terms of proportions of the different botanical fractions actually
consumed by the animals) and digestibility, the estimation of these parameters becoming difficult in grazing conditions. The use of the n-alkanes as internal markers for this purpose has given good results with mixtures of two temperate forages (Dove and Mayes, 1996), but has not yet been tested with other species or mixed diets.
The aim of the present experiment was to compare observed values of intake, digestibility and diet composition obtained in sheep fed different proportions of barley grain and straw to their n-alkane estimates. Sixteen adult sheep were randomly assigned to four diets with different proportions of barley grain and straw (60/40, 45/55, 30/70 y 15/85) and fed at a level which avoided refusals. Intake, digestibility and diet composition (proportion of grains, leaves and stems consumed) were recorded for seven days.
The contribution of leaves and stems to total straw intake was estimated from the comparison of their respective n-alkane profiles. From 14 days before until the end of the balance period the animals were dosed once a day (9 h) with 1.5 g of paper pellet containing equal proportions of tetracosane (C24) and dotriacontane (C32), used as external markers to provide for faecal recovery, and hexatriacontane (C36) used for faecal production calculations. N-alkanes were extracted from samples of grains, leaves, stems and faeces, and their concentrations analysed by means of gas chromatography. Diet composition was estimated according to the procedures proposed by Mayes et al. (1994), using C25 (pentacosane), C28 (octacosane) and C30 (triacontane) as internal markers, and dry matter intake following Mayes et al. (1986). Digestibility was calculated from estimated intake and faecal production. Observed and estimated proportions of grain in the diet were compared by regression, and differences within each treatment assessed by the paired t-test procedure. This last method was also used to compare observed and estimated intake and digestibility values.
Estimates of proportions of grain in the diet were very accurate (estimated = 1.0063 observed – 2.4720; r2 = 0.99; P=0.0001), and mean differences between measured and estimated parameters ranged from –6.9 to 2.7% for dry matter intake, and from –4.6 to 2.1% for dry matter digestibility, depending on treatment (P<0.05 for diets 60/40 and 30/70). There was not a consistent relationship between the magnitude of the deviations and the proportion of grain in the diet.
Due to the scarce differences between observed and estimated values, it is concluded that the n-alkane technique is a powerful tool to estimate intake, digestibility and diet composition of mixed diets and hence may be used in sheep grazing mature whole cereal crops.

Dove H. and Mayes R. W., 1996. J Nutr 126: 13-26.
Mayes R. W. et al., 1986. J Agric Sci 107: 161-170.
Mayes R. W. et al., 1994. Sci Total Env 157: 289-300.

Food intake and body weight development of captive roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) fawns fed diets of different tannin content

M. Clauss 1, M. Lechner-Doll2, K. Lason2

1Institute of Animal Physiology, Physiol. Chemistry and Animal Nutrition, Munich, Germany
2Institute of Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research (IZW) Berlin, Germany

It has been shown that roe deer do not totally reject artificially designed, tannin-containing food, even if the same food without the tannins is offered. Potentially positive effects of tannins that could explain this behaviour comprise antioxidant effects, action against gastrointestinal helminths and pathogenic bacteria, or an increased escape of valuebla dietary protein from ruminal degradation. In order to better understand the food choices of roe deer, we wanted to test whether any beneficial effects of tannin feeding could be demonstrated.
Two groups of four hand-raised roe deer fawns were fed a pelleted feed only. One group served as control; the other received the same feed mixture with the addition of 3 % (original weight) of commercial tannic acid or quabracho tannin. Animal were weighed regularly, and the food consumption of the groups was monitored. Animals were dewormed on a regular basis.
The tannin group showed a significantly greater increase of body weight, both in absolute values and in relative weight gain. After eight months of tannic acid feeding, the tannin group had achieved a mean relative weight gain of nearly 25 %, in contrast to the control group with a mean of about 14.5 %. The food consumption of the two groups did not differ significantly. There was no difference in relative weight gain between the groups after two months of quebracho feeding.
The findings suggest that tannic acid increased the food conversion efficiency. This is most likely due to a protein-protecting mechanism by the tannins, which has repeatedly been reported for domestic ruminants on a low-dose tannin regime. The question remains whether such an increased food efficiency could be a reason for the animals to actively select a low dose of dietary tannins in preference trials.

Investigations on ingestion, amounts and composition of casting and digestibility of organic matter in different birds of prey (kestrel falcon, common buzzard, and eagle owl)

P. Wolf, M. Lüdtke und J. Kamphues

Institute of Animal Nutrition, School of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bischofsholer Damm 15, D-30173 Hannover

Birds of prey have been kept in human custody for centuries (hawking/zoos). Also, more recently so-called "hospices" have been established whose purpose is to temporarily care for injured animals until health is restored and subsequently return them to their natural habitat. The birds are ususally fed day-old chicks and mice (sometimes enriched with vitaminsupplemented minerals).

Aim of this study was to gain qualitative and quantitative insights regarding feed consumption, nutrient supply, size and composition of castings (pellets), and feed digestibility.

In this study 3 adults each of the species kestrel falcon (Æ 140- 220 g BW) and common buzzard (Æ 750 - 1,200 g) as well as 4 adult eagle owls (Æ 1,600 - 1,800 g) were observed. The birds received day-old chicks (Ch: 251±2.30 g dry matter/kg FM; in dm (g/kg): crude ash: 75.1±1.80; crude protein: 673±24.8; crude fat: 167±50.8) or mice (M: 340±38.4 g dm/kg FM; in dm (g/kg): crude ash: 105±6.00; crude protein: 536±67.9; crude fat: 273±103) in toto and ad libitum. Body weight was recorded at the beginning and end of every trial (7 days of adaptation, 5 days of collection). In calculating digestibility of organic matter (om, %), feed consumption was defined as the consumed quantity of feed animal (calculated by offered and refused amounts) minus castings (pellets). Corrections were made for uric acid in feces (mutes).

kestrel falcon common buzzard eagle owl feed animals: Ch M Ch M Ch M
feed consumption 5.03 7.69 2.20 2.43 2.01 2.26 (g DM/100 g BW/d) ± 0.87 ± 1.35 ± 0.56 ± 0.52 ± 0.16 ± 0.09
Casting- quantity 5.97 6.09 4.03 6.09 3.45 10.9 (% of DM-intake) ± 0.28 ± 0.75 ± 0.43 ± 0.75 ± 2.88 ± 0.32
- composition
crude ash (% DM)* 5.90 15.2 2.00 15.7 6.96 38.9
crude protein (% DM) 68.0 63.3 78.2 68.5 81.1 52.3 ± 8.98 ± 2.22 ± 3.25 ± 1.10 ± 2.81 ± 2.15
crude fat (% DM) 1.77 2.63 6.37 2.64 3.18 1.75 ± 0.23 ± 0.28 ± 4.03 ± 0.15 ± 0.50 ± 0.18 75.1 82.5 76.9 81.5 72.9 84.0
digestibility (om, %) ± 0.30 ± 1.83 ± 0.97 ± 0.98 ± 4.75 ± 2.15 - 2.10 3.07 -0.12 1.17 0.11 0.77 development BW (%) ± 0.51 ± 1.15 ± 0.34 ± 0.65 ± 0.06 ± 0.02
Ch = day-old chicks M = mice * average

As to be expected, relative consumption declined with rising body weight. Real feed consumption (at steady body weight) was comparable to values observed in pet birds or poultry. With regard to digestibility, effects were not so much species- as feed-related, i.e. mice were generally better digested than day-old chicks. The data will also allow quantitative ideas on energy and nutrient supply, that is needed to optimize nutrition in birds of prey.

EAZA Rainforest Campaign

European Zoos’ Commitment to Conservation of the Atlantic Rainforest Kristin Leus

Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Koningin Astridplein 26, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium, Tel. +32 3 202 45 80; Fax +32 3 202 45 47,

It may appear odd to dedicate a session of a nutrition conference to the EAZA Atlantic Rainforest Campaign. Perhaps a few words of explanation are in order. Until the end of September 2002, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria is running an awareness and fundraising campaign for the South American Atlantic Rainforest. Together with Copenhagen Zoo, Dublin Zoo and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey), the RZSA is one of the driving forces behind the EAZA campaign. As such, we are trying to take every opportunity to draw attention to the campaign. The Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (RZSA) has a special bond with the Atlantic Rainforest, mainly through our activities with the golden-headed lion tamarins (GHLTs) (Leontopithecus chrysomelas).

Since 1993, the RZSA has co-ordinated the International Studbook and European breeding programme (EEP) for this species. As the current studbook keeper I am a member of International Committee for the Conservation and Management of the Lion Tamarins, an official advisory committee to the Brazilian federal environmental agency. Intensive ex situ research has been conducted on the GHLTs housed at Antwerp Zoo since 1987, under the co-ordination of Dr. Linda Van Elsacker. In 2002, as part of the expanding activities of our Centre for Research and Conservation, Dr. Kristel De Vleeschouwer will start an in situ project in the Una Biological Reserve, in close collaboration with the University of Maryland (Dr. J.M. Dietz and B. Raboy). Her research will focus on feeding ecology and the use of different habitats by GHLTs, and the effects of forest fragmentation. For all of the above reasons, we felt it appropriate to dedicate a session of this joint nutrition conference to the campaign. In this way we hope to raise awareness about the plight of the Atlantic Rainforest, as well as to stimulate work on the nutrition, nutritional ecology and physiology of (South American) rainforest animals. This in turn will contribute to the conservation of this habitat. The Atlantic Rainforest is commonly divided into two main regions: the coastal Atlantic forest (a 50- 100 km wide strip along the Northeast coast of Brazil) and the interior Atlantic forest (stretching 500-600 km inland into south-eastern Brazil and extending into eastern Paraguay and the extreme north of Argentina (Misiones)).
The Atlantic Rainforest or "Mata Atlântica" as it is locally called, has very high levels of biodiversity and endemism and is the fourth ‘hottest’ of the world's 25 threatened biodiversity hotspots1,2. It has a higher level of diversity and endemism per unit area than the Amazon. 160 out of 261 mammal species (61%) are endemic to the Atlantic Rainforest, 73 out of 620 birds (12%), 60 out of 200 reptiles (30%), 253 out of 280 amphibians (90%) and 6,000 out of 20,000 terrestrial plants (30%)1,2. Currently only 7.5% of the former range of the Atlantic forest remains. The main threats to the region include: habitat destruction and fragmentation (due to logging, agricultural expansion, urbanisation, industrialisation and associated road building); hunting, and wildlife trade; and the collection of flora from the forest such as heart of palm (“palmito”), bromeliads, orchids and tree ferns.
More than 70 species of animals living in the Atlantic Rainforest are kept in EAZA zoos and a number of them are managed in breeding programmes and/or studbooks. Through the campaign, EAZA zoos hope to raise awareness of the plight of this unique forest and to raise funds for the Lion Tamarins of Brazil Fund (LTBF). By doing so the Atlantic Forest as a whole will benefit through the synergistic effect of support to high-profile conservation projects in the area. The Lion Tamarin programmes are typical examples of how originally species-based activities have developed into ecosystem programmes with strong socio-economic components. The Atlantic Rainforest is under a high degree of threat. However, by making a relatively small contribution to well functioning local conservation activities in which many zoos are already involved, we can make a real difference. The ‘world’ of nutrition research can make its own contribution to this effort. After all, a better knowledge of the nutritional ecology and nutritional needs of key species is often essential for the planning of short and long-term conservation measures for the ecosystem in which they live.

1 Myers, N., Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, C.G., da Fonsecal, G.A.B. & Kent, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853-858.
² Mittermeier, R.A., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Rylands, A.B. & Mittermeier, C.G. 1999. Atlantic Forest. In: Mittermeier, R.A., Myers, N., Thomsen, J. (eds.) Hotspots. Conservation International: Washington DC.

KEY-NOTE LECTURE: Nutrition of marsupials in captivity

Ian D. Hume

School of Biological Sciences A08, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Successful captive management of marsupials, as with any animal, depends on sound knowledge of the animal’s natural habits, including diet. The natural diets of marsupials span almost the same spectrum as those of eutherian mammals. Thus there are insectivorous marsupial moles, carnivorous marsupial tiger cats (quolls), nectarivorous marsupial gliders, omnivorous bandicoots, and herbivorous kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and arboreal possums. Captive diets for many species are based on artificial ingredients designed to satisfy all known (or estimated) nutrient requirements, but in some cases successful captive maintenance is still dependent on some or all natural food ingredients. This paper surveys the known natural diets of marsupials and highlights cases in which specific nutrients need attention in the captive situation. A common problem is obesity caused by overfeeding with diets much richer in digestible energy than natural diets likely to be encountered in the wild. On average, the metabolic rates of marsupials are below those of equivalent eutherians and thus their energy and protein requirements for maintenance are also relatively low. On highly digestible diets the stomach empties faster, with virtually no indigestible residues to maintain stretch of the gastric wall. Consequently the amount of energy ingested before the stomach fills is likely to greatly exceed that ingested on a natural wild diet, leading to excessive energy intakes and obesity when opportunities for exercise are limited by captivity. The consequences of obesity include musculo-skeletal problems and impaired reproductive success. Deficiencies or excesses of specific nutrients are likely to be manifested in more specific ways. Of great importance to captive marsupials is the role of vitamin E in the prevention of nutritional muscular dystrophy when requirements for the vitamin are increased by confinement stress. Simple remedies for this and for other nutritional problems in captive marsupials are discussed.

HACCP based bacteriological study of the feed of fruit-eating birds in the Rotterdam Zoo

A.E.P. Knipscheer1, J. Nijboer2 and L.J.A. Lipman1

1Department of veterinary public health, food of animal origin and environmental analysis, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
2Royal Rotterdam Zoo, The Netherlands

A HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) based inventory study of the presence of bacteria in the feed of tropical fruit-eating birds during processing and feeding, demonstrated that several critical control points could be identified. Feed samples were taken out of two selected cages present in the Victoria voliere, a large tropical greenhouse of the Rotterdam Zoo. The birds in the selected cages were all fruit-eating birds. The diluted samples were plated on different media e.g. Plate Count agar and Violet Red Blue agar to investigated for Total Aerobic Count, Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus Aureus, Salmonella, Faecal Enterococcus sp. Lactobacillus, Yersinia, Pseudomonas, moulds and yeast. High bacterial numbers were present in the feed of the tropical birds. A trend of increasing bacterial numbers was found during the day. The number of bacterial species also increased over time. The total aerobic count developed during the day from log 5.3 at the start to log 7.8 at the end of the day. Enterobacteriaceae numbers rose from log 3.6 to log 6.4. The mixing moments and the bacterial growth during the presentation of the feed to the birds were critical control points.
To limit the bacterial growth, an experiment was done reducing the time the feed was presented to the birds. Clean feed was served in clean trays instead. The experiment demonstrated a visible drop in bacterial numbers. The results of this experimental study showed that a HACCP based bacteriological study was able to identify critical control points in the processing and feeding strategy of tropical birds in the Royal Rotterdam Zoo. Changing processing methods at these critical control points resulted in a decrease in bacterial numbers.

Evaluation of the use of organic formulated bird foods for large psittacines.

Debra McDonald

Démac Wildlife Nutrition, Healesville, Victoria, AUSTRALIA 3777.

The use of formulated diets for birds has been associated with high rates of infertility, poor hatching, weak, non-thriving chicks (with a high percentage of gram negative bacterial problems), yeast excesses, bent legs, crop emptying problems and high chick mortality. In addition, there have been problems associated with parents failing to incubate eggs, resulting in decreased hatchability, decreased parent-raising if eggs hatch, and an increase in the time spent hand-rearing and hand-feeding chicks. Reports of breeder mortality have also been recorded. This study evaluates the efficacy of formulated bird foods composed of organic ingredients for health and productivity of large psittacines maintained at two different commercial aviaries.

At aviary 1, eight psittacine species including: African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus), Amazons (Amazona spp), cockatoos (Cactua galerita, C. moluccensis, C. galerita triton), eclectus (Eclectus roratus) and macaws (Ara spp and Anodorhynchus spp), were maintained on a variety of commercial bird pellets composed of nonorganic ingredients for over 15 years, before being transferred to commercial products composed of organic ingredients (HBD Adult Lifetime Coarse for maintenance and HBD High Potency Coarse for breeding) in 1994. This resulted in an increase in breeding success from 0.87 chicks per pair (n = 150 pairs) to in excess of three chicks per pair, with a reduction in embryonic death, poor chick development and adult aggression, and an improvement in parental care eliminating the need to hand-rear chicks, which is not only costly but can also result in compromised immune systems. The nutrient compositions of the two organic products were compared to four nonorganic products (Kaytee Rainbow Exact, Mazuri Parrot Maintenance, Pretty Bird African Special). Variations in nutrient composition include: higher levels of preformed vitamin A (5-15 IU/kg vs. 0.4-5.7 IU/kg), copper (15-17 mg/kg vs. 7-13 mg/kg), iron (110-214 vs. 103-124 mg/kg) and zinc (95-118 mg/kg nonorganic, 70-81 organic breeding, 43-45 organic maintenance) in the nonorganic products with higher levels of fat detected in the organic diet for breeders (20- 29% vs. 11-21% nonorganic). Vitamin E values were comparable for two of the nonorganic and organic maintenance diets (153-253 mg/kg), with higher values in one of the nonorganic diets and the organic breeding diets (223-305 mg/kg).

At aviary 2, 30 pairs of Amazons were maintained on nonorganic diets. Only one chick was produced and diagnosed to be of poor health. Productivity increased to 120 chicks when transferred to the organic products, all in good health. Birds were transferred to nonorganic diets during the nonbreeding season and only returned to the organic diets just prior to the breeding season, resulting in only nine chicks, indicating a requirement to maintain birds on diets of superior quality all year round. It is unclear whether the organic nature of the products in these two studies, or variations in nutrient composition are implicated but nutritionally balanced diets composed of organic ingredients are certainly indicated. These studies highlight the need to better understand the nutritional requirements of psittacines and consider the implications for the effects of pesticide contamination on the health of birds maintained in captivity on formulated diets composed of nonorganic ingredients.

Global wildlife nutrition database: Howler monkey (Alouatta pigra) prototype

António G. Vidigal1, Ellen S. Dierenfeld2, Suzanne I. Boardman 3

1Lisbon Zoo, Portugal;
2Wildlife Conservation Society, USA;
3Wildlife Information Network

The development of a global wildlife nutrition database has been initiated in response to the absence of information easily and quickly available on the Internet, which allows solutions to the resolution of questions and problems of a nutritional nature relative to populations of wild animals either in captivity or in nature. This model represents a first step for the fulfilment of the proposal contained in the CBSG Wildlife Nutrition Database Report (Boardman and Dierenfeld, 2001) where the concept was defined:..”to develop the infrastructure of an Internet-accessible database of nutritional information to fill some of these current data gaps, providing a global network for contributors as well as end-users, administered through the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN.” This specific project was launched as a prototype through a grant awarded from Columbia University’s Centre for Environmental Research and Conservation to the Wildlife Conservation Society. A planning meeting involving representative possible users of this envisioned system was hosted at the Wildlife Conservation Society February 2001, with feedback from staff of Zoo Conservation Outreach Group, Wildlife Information Network, Wildlife Trust, the New York Botanical Garden, and the host institution. Howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) in Belize were targeted as a likely prototype species for development of a database module for a number of reasons: overlap with human uses of plant resources exists, long and short-term field data on movement patterns, habitat use, and nutrient composition of food plants have been collated.
While the conservation issues of howlers may not be as pressing as those of other primates, there is, nonetheless much interest in nutritional management of howler monkeys both in US and Latin American zoological facilities, and the biodiversity index of plant use within Belize itself may have implications for non-primates. Such a prototype, therefore, could logically and realistically be developed based on datasets that are already published. Phase 1 (Prototype) model development incorporated the field data of Silver (Silver, 1997; Silver et al., 2000) and Ostro (Ostro, 1998; Ostro et al., 1999).
Bibliographic information on howler monkeys in general and specific characteristics of A. pigra, along with these field data, defined the primary keys of the model structure. Hence animal species, plant species, or bibliographic data can initiate a search to retrieve more detailed information on any of the other primary keys. Under this integrated model, mechanisms will be investigated to effectively link a) detailed information on composition of plants consumed by howlers to the database structure of ZootritionTM software (Zootrition, 2001) b) botanical uses and toxicological data to extant plant databases, and c) published natural history and health information within the WildPro Multimedia electronic encyclopaedia and library of the Wildlife Information Network. Such linkages would magnify the functionality and capacity of a Global Nutrition Database, and accessibility world-wide, while at the same time making most effective use of collaborating partners.

BOARDMAN, S. and E. Dierenfeld. 2001. CBSG News 12(1):34 - Silver, S.C. et al. 2000. Zoo Biology 19:95-109 - ZootritionTM Dietary Management Software. Wildlife Conservation Society, 2001 –
BOARDMAN, S.I. (1997): WILDProä Multimedia: a database management system for the health, welfare and conservation of wild animals. Association of Veterinary Teachers and Research Workers Annual Conference, April 1997, Scarborough, UK. 12 –
BOARDMAN, S.I. and F.J. DEIN (1998): WILDPro Multimedia: An electronic manual on the health, management and natural history of captive and free-ranging animals. American Association of Zoo Veterinarians & American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians Joint Conference 17-22 October 1998, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. 107-108 - OSTRO L.E.T. (1998): The spatial ecology of
translocated black howler monkeys in Belize. (Ph.D. dissertation). New York (NY): Fordham Univ ersity - SILVER S.C.
(1997): The feeding ecology of translocated howler monkeys (Alouatta pigar) in Belize, Central America. (Ph.D.
dissertation). New York (NY): Fordham University.