Hello, new home with new science for you guys on the ground. We would love any and all feedback about the new site and always looking for ways to get you what you need, so do please contact us via the mail logo on each page.
Absolute monster volume with a load of papers to get your teeth sunk into – grrrrr science!
Island, H. D., Wengeler, J. and Claussenius-Kalman, H. (2017), The flehmen response and pseudosuckling in a captive, juvenile Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). Zoo Biology.
A juvenile, female sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) was observed in 43 instances of the flehmen response over 19 days from May through July of 2015 at the Oregon Zoo. In all flehmen grimace observations, the juvenile sea otter engaged in nibbling, nosing, or licking the peri-mammary or anogenital areas of a non-lactating, geriatric female sea otter. The flehmen behavior observed was consisted with the sequences of behavior documented in other mammals, lifting the head, elevating the nose to the air, retracting the upper lip slightly, and manipulating her mystacial vibrissae back and forth while rapidly inspiring air through her mouth in quick succession, tongue extruded. The occurrence of this behavior was not specific to visitor density, visitor impact rating, day of the month, time of day, or exhibit zone. However, it did occur more frequently in one area of the enclosure. Among the three sea otters (two females, one male) currently housed at the Oregon Zoo, the juvenile female’s flehmen response only occurred following interactions with the older female and was always preceded by the pseudosuckling or anogenital nosing, licking or nibbling behavior.
Stannard, H. J., Bekkers, J. M., Old, J. M., McAllan, B. M. and Shaw, M. E. (2017), Digestibility of a new diet for captive short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus). Zoo Biology.
Short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) are myrmecophages, or ant and termite insectivore specialists, and replicating their exact diet in captivity is problematic. Diets for captive animals often incorporate raw meat, eggs and cat food mixed together with water, and vitamin and mineral supplements. These diets have promoted a number of health problems in captive echidnas, such as gastritis, cystitis, gut impaction, obesity, and diarrhea. A manufactured diet was designed and three echidnas from two zoos were transitioned onto this diet to assess the acceptability and digestibility of this diet for echidnas. The new “test” diet was readily accepted by the echidnas with a 1 week transition period. Daily digestible energy intake was 280 kJ kg−0.75 d−1, similar to another myrmecophagous species. Digestibility values were above 74% for all macronutrients. It was determined that this diet was an acceptable replacement for the previous diets and it was decided that the remaining echidnas at both institutions would be transitioned to the new diet. The diet will also be used for wild echidnas being rehabilitated in the zoo hospitals prior to release and commercially available within Australia. Further data are being collected to assess the use of this diet for seasonal weight management, transitioning hand-reared puggles and effects on gastrointestinal tract health.
Pangolins are ant specialists which are under intense threat from the illegal wildlife trade. Nutrition has notoriously been their downfall in captivity and is still an issue in regards to rescue and rehabilitation. We analyzed the nutrient content of diets used by institutions that are successfully keeping Asian pangolins and to assess the variety of the ingredients and nutrients, compared these with the nutritional requirements of potential nutritional model species. We performed intake studies at five institutions and also had data from three other institutions. We also analyzed five different wild food items to use as a proxy of wild diet. We observed two categories of captive diets: those mostly or completely composed of insects and those high in commercial feeds or animal meat. Nutrient values were broad and there was no clear rule. The non-protein energy to protein energy ratio of the diets were much higher than the wild food items, more so for those which receive less insects. The average contribution of carbohydrate, fat, and protein energy were also further away from the wild samples the less insects they contained. The previously suggested nutritional model for pangolins is the domestic dog which is supported by our relatively large nutrient ranges of apparently successful diets, however, due to their highly carnivorous nature; the upper most nutrient intake data are not consistent with this and favor the feline nutrient recommendations. We are unable to render a conclusion of what model is more appropriate based on our data collected.
February 2017 Volume 187, Pages 85–92
[might have some relevance to zoo collections when infrastructure work is being carried out]
Suárez, P; Recuerda, P; Arias-de-Reyna, L Behaviour and welfare: the visitor effect in captive felids Volume 26, Number 1, February 2017, pp. 25-34(10)
The influence of visitors on the welfare of captive animals, known as the visitor effect, may in some instances be stressful, adversely affecting animal health. Although the survival of many felid species depends on captive breeding programmes, little is known about this effect. A better understanding of the visitor effect is required to ensure the well-being of felids and the success of breeding programmes. We sought to determine whether the presence of visitors affects behaviour patterns and space use in five feline species in two Spanish zoos: Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), jaguar (Panthera onca), bobcat (Lynx rufus), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) and, if so, whether the effect on animal welfare is positive or negative. To our knowledge, no previous research has addressed the visitor effect in these species, with the exception of the jaguar. Data on animal behaviour, enclosure use, and visitor density were collected during the spring and summer of 2011 and 2012. Changes were observed for all studied species when the zoo was open to the public: four species devoted less time to complex behaviour (ie play, walk) and spent more time resting; ocelots and bobcats made more use of hidden spaces and less use of areas closer to visitors, while the jaguar tended to do the opposite. No correlation was found between visitor density and animal activity, indicating that animals are affected by the mere presence of visitors, regardless of their number. Our findings are in line with those reported by other authors, who have suggested that these behavioural changes are linked to chronic stress. Visitor effect was classed as negative for the welfare of all studied species apart from the jaguar. We advocate the need for future research into potential solutions to mitigate the adverse effect of visitors on felids.