M. Clauss1, E. Kienzle 1 and H. Wiesner2

1Institute of Animal Physiology, Physiological Chemistry and Animal Nutrition, Munich Veterinaerstr.13, D-80359 Munich, Germany; 2Zoological Garden of Munich, Munich, Germany

The commercially available, pelleted moose food sold under the same brand name (“Mazuri Moose Maintenance”) in North America and Europe differs drastically in ingredient composition; the European formula does not contain the aspen sawdust that is regarded as the crucial ingredient in the North American diet. Apart from these feeds, other pelleted foods designed for horses, domestic ruminants and cervids are used in feeding moose in European facilities. These pelleted feeds, and for comparison grass and browse samples, were submitted to a variety of analyses in order to isolate the potentially beneficial factors of the commercial moose feeds. All pelleted feeds had comparable particle size distributions, with the North American moose feed as the notable exception, as the sawdust particles were not as finely ground as the other ingredients. All pelleted feeds were similar in nutrient composition; however, the commercial moose feeds had higher percentages of fibre, due to a higher cellulose (and in the European pellets also hemicellulose) content. The commercial moose pellets did not display significantly higher concentrations of lignin than the other pelleted feeds, in spite of the sawdust ingredient. Due to their high cellulose content, they even had lower lignin: cellulose-ratios than the other feeds and therefore rather resembled grass than browse in their fiber composition. Thus, the reported success of the commercial moose diets is most likely explained by their comparatively low energy density and high fiber content, and not by the sawdust ingredient itself. Additionally, the fact that they do not contain corn starch is considered beneficial. The use of pelleted feeds high in energy density and poor in structural fiber components is considered one of the major reasons for the nutritional problems encountered in captive moose.


K. Foster* and D. Preece

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, Trinity, Jersey JE3 5BP, Channel Islands, British Isles

Animal nutrition is a crucial aspect of maintaining and breeding endangered species in captivity. Three species of iguana were studied at Jersey Zoo, headquarters of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust: rhinoceros iguana, Cyclura cornuta cornuta (2 adults); Lesser Antilles iguana, Iguana delicatissima (2 adults, 1 juvenile); and swampy iguana, Ctenosaura bakeri (1 adult, 4 juveniles). The aim of this study was to see if the diets were providing nutrients adequate to maintain health and allow reproduction. These animals were studied because of their endangered status, the problems that can be involved in feeding them successfully, and because C. bakeri was a species new to Jersey Zoo. The diets being provided to Cyclura and Iguana consisted of forage and leafy green vegetables (such as pak choi, romaine lettuce, mibuna, chicory, pseudo-acacia and lime) grown on the organic farm at the zoo. Ctenosaura were also provided with chopped fruits, mealworms, crickets and locusts. The vitamin and mineral supplement Nutrobal was provided to each species. Food distribution practises promote foraging activity and provide environmental enrichment. The diets were quantified by weighing the amounts of food provided, and calculating the amounts consumed per enclosure. ontrol feeds were used to correct the feed remains for weight changes due to water loss or gain. The diets were analysed in terms of the nutrients consumed per individual and per kilogram body mass, using the dietary management software “Zootrition” (Wildlife Conservation Society, 1999). The diet analyses were compared to published information on recommended nutrient levels. Zootrition was also used to analyse the composition of the food items provided to the iguanas in order to establish the nutrient levels in each food. In general, the nutritional composition of the diets consumed was found to be satisfactory in terms of key nutrients. Fibre consumption varied from 19-29%, which exceeded the recommended minimum of 10%. Dietary fibre needs to be high to ensure gut motility and micro-organism composition in the gut. The diet of wild herbivorous iguanas contains very little fat. Fat consumption in this study varied from 2.6-3.1% for Cyclura and Iguana, and from 3.7-6.7% for Ctenosaura. This was expected as Cyclura and Iguana are herbivorous and Ctenosaura are omnivorous. Protein levels consumed by Cyclura were higher than the recommended 10-20% protein for this species. Iguana consumed 22% protein, within the requirement boundaries of 15-30%. The protein consumption of Ctenosaura appeared to vary with age: the adult consumed 20% protein, whereas average juvenile consumption was 26%. The calcium to phosphorus ratios of the Cyclura and Iguana diets exceeded the recommended 2:1, before taking Nutrobal into consideration, but Ctenosaura required Ca supplementation to increase the Ca:P ratio to 2:1, to compensate for the inverse Ca:P of insects and the low calcium content of fruit. Produce from the organic farm at Jersey Zoo appears to be contributing to well balanced diets for the iguanas, in terms of nutrients required to maintain health and allow reproduction, as demonstrated by the hatching in November 2000 of a complete clutch of I. delicatissima eggs.


R. Harrison1, E.V. Valdes1,2 and J.L. Atkinson1*

1Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada; 2Toronto Zoo, West Hill, Ontario M1E 4R5, Canada.

The porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is a large herbivorous arboreal rodent widely distributed across the North American continent. Its most prominent feature is the quills primarily located on the back and tail which serve as a defence against predators. In addition, hair grows between the quills in preparation for winter and also covers the ventral surface and limbs of the animal. The plant-based diet of the porcupine, particularly the winter food supply, is relatively low in protein and the digestibility of this protein is low. The high sulphur amino acid (SAA) content of the protein of quills and hair makes these a potentially limiting nutrient in the porcupines diet, therefore. This study was designed to determine the relative proportions of SAA in the quills and hair and the remainder of the body of road-killed porcupines collected in the late fall season. Six animals were used in the study (mean body weight (BW) 6.79 + 0.51 kg). All quills and hair were removed from the dorsal surface by manual plucking. The shorter hair on the face, limbs and ventral surface was removed with electric clippers. Quills and hair for a given carcass were combined, chopped into short lengths and force air dried to constant weight before grinding 3 times through a 0.6 cm plate. The remainder of each carcass was emptied of stomach and cecum contents, frozen, sliced and ground through a 0.6 cm plate. Subsamples were freeze dried and reground through a 0.6 cm plate for further analysis. Analytical dry matter (DM) and crude protein (CP) were measured on quill/hair and body samples and SAA content estimated from literature values. Total body DM was 1.80 + 0.14 kg, of which 0.46 + 0.03 kg was quills/hair, representing 26% of total DM. CP and estimated SAA were 1.14 + 0.12 kg and 65.3 + 5.4 g respectively for the whole body and 0.45 + 0.03 kg and 45.9 + 3.3 g for quills/hair. Thus quills/hair represented 40% of total body CP and 71% of total SAA. The disproportionate demand for SAA for quill/hair growth implies a significant allocation of a limited nutrient resource to defensive purposes and suggests that SAA may be a limiting factor for growth in porcupines, particularly in the postweaning period when a plant-based diet is consumed.


T. Hickey

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, Trinity, Jersey JE3 5BP, British Isles

The St. Lucia amazon, Amazona versicolor, has been kept at the Jersey Zoo, headquarters of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, for 24 years. In the initial stages of the breeding programme, problems were encountered with the health of the birds and therefore reproductive output was compromised. High mortality in both wild-caught adults and captive-born youngsters, of nutrition related diseases, prompted an investigation into the diet fed to the parrots held at the Trust. Preliminary feeding trials established the nutritional content of the diet offered, and highlighted areas where improvement was needed. Modifications were implemented, thus forming a diet that was believed to be more suited to the nutritional requirements of the birds. In the years following the diet modifications there was a significant improvement in the overall health of the parrots and a burst of reproductive activity. However, poor fertility has blighted the breeding programme, and with the death of a mature, wild-caught breeding male in 2000 attributed to visceral gout (the bird was also obese), the diet of A. versicolor has once again come under scrutiny. The current diet offered and consumed was examined by weighing food items provided and left over and analysed using nutritional analysis software (Zootrition, Wildlife Conservation Society, 1999) and was compared to the requirements for a psittacine diet by Baer and Ullrey (1986) to assess the quality. To establish how much “drift” had occurred in the diet offered since the original modifications in 1992, comparison was also made between the current diet and the diet listed for the St. Lucia parrot in the Dietary Manual of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (1995). The results suggested that crude protein levels were high, vitamin E and manganese were low, and that dietary calcium was deficient, a problem intensified by the high levels of phosphorus. Fat levels were slightly high and should also be monitored. Further investigation is needed to establish the most effective way of adjusting the diet. The comparison between the current diet and the diet in use in 1995 revealed that some changes have occurred in the amount offered of certain food items. In the process of re-balancing the diet, these changes will be taken into consideration to see if they can account for some of the nutritional imbalance in the current diet.


N.A. Irlbeck1,2, M.M. Moore2 and E.S. Dierenfeld3

1Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO80523 USA; 2 Denver Zoological Gardens, Denver CO 80205 USA; 3Department of Wildlife Nutrition, Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460 USA

Browse - the new "buzzword" within zoological communities. Browse can include shrubs, trees, woody vines and stems, including various plant parts like berries and flowers. Browse is used for nutrient supplementation, behavioral enrichment and for some animal species it is life. Browse can also mean death to animals if a wrong plant or part is fed. With all of these parameters - good and bad - browse nutritive and management information has been collected on browse species known to "nurture" and "protect" animal collections. Browse databases have been compiled within zoological institutions throughout the United States, Europe, and countries worldwide. Information entered into a database usually centers around a "specific" country or region. Since plants grow better in some climates than others, it is difficult to use database information universally. Formats that would allow global application in browse utilization are critical. Landscape and seed industries recommend plantings based on plant hardiness. Plant hardiness is an index based on minimum temperatures and could be applied universally. For example, in the United States, plant hardiness zones range from 2 to 10, while in Europe they range from 5 to 10. A plant hardiness zone of 5 would include minimum temperatures of -20° to -10° F or -29.0° to - 23.5° C. Plant hardiness information is readily accessible on the Internet, and this index could be used to "begin" the process of developing a global browse database. It needs to be emphasized that there are many other variables involved in plant growth and resulting nutritive value of browse -humidity and rain fall, soil type, altitude and others. Plant hardiness is not the whole answer, but it is a first step in the development of a database that would allow entry of browse information for global application. Long-term goals for the browse database will be to incorporate it into the Global Food Composition Database proposed by the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) Working Group. The browse section of this Global Database will focus on identified variables utilizing current information technology. Fields to be incorporated into an Internet-accessible, intuitive-search database of browse samples include (minimally): Taxonomy; Phenological characteristics; Plant part(s); Growth Characteristics; Geographic Information and Abiotic Information including GPS coordinates (with a hyperlink to mapping capability); Source (i.e. natural vs. cultivated); Date of Collection; List(s) of Consumer Species; Nutrient Data; Bibliographical References; and Links to other existent Databases (i.e. Medicinal, Toxicological, Human Food, Water Quality). Specific details to be considered under these various fields will be discussed, along with implications for impacting and assessing nutrient quality of browse. Through creation of linked global databases with multi-users and contributors, we can begin to identify and fill knowledge gaps to allow us to better understand and meet the nutritional needs of animal species under our care.