Rheine, Germany
Rheine, Germany

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Between 2008 and 2010 the Zoological gardens in Rheine, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Cologne and Zurich took part in a research project initiated by scientists of the Institute of Animal Science, University of Bonn. Saliva was collected from various zoo animals to determine certain dietary adaptations on enzymatic and physiological levels that might explain or change our current understanding of animal nutrition and the feeding in zoo environments. The interest was primarily focused on species with specialized nutritional needs or fermentation strategies such as geladas, chimpanzees, camels and zebras. The work produced highly valuable data especially on geladas, which, despite from their adaptation to grass diet, revealed to have the enzymatic precondition (salivary amylase) to use starch-rich food items very effectively. Therefore, to prevent obesity in captive geladas, the reduction of starchy food in their daily rations is mandatory. Finally, saliva sampling is an easy, cost-effective and non-invasive procedure, the use of which is both practical and attractive in a zoo environment. In the future, the world-wide emerging field of salivary research might give birth to new applications of saliva as a tool to detect biomarkers of physiology and diseases in zoo animals. © 2011.

In May 2009 NaturZoo Rheine, Germany, opened a new enclosure for Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) combined with Golden jackals (Canis aureus). Introducing the article tells the 70. years long history of bear-maintenance at NaturZoo Rheine. The process of institutional collection planning resulting in Sloth bears as the taxon of choice is described as are the special ideas of modern animal-husbandry and -presentation for the concept of the facility. The enclosure and husbandry practice are detailed. A list of experiences made so far places special emphasise on behavioural enrichment and the mixed-species exhibit. Finally the visitors' response to the new enclosure gets mentioned. © 2011.

Mau M.,University of Bonn | Johann A.,NaturZoo Rheine | Sliwa A.,Zoological Garden Cologne | Hummel J.,University of Bonn | Sudekum K.-H.,University of Bonn
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2011

Hindgut fermentation has been suggested to contribute significantly to the digestive process in the gelada (Theropithecus gelada). We therefore hypothesized that in an in vitro fermentation test (Hohenheim gas test, using gas production as measure of microbial digestion) inoculum based on fresh gelada feces would degrade grass to a similar degree as zebra (Equus burchelli chapmani) feces and to a higher degree than that of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas). Additionally, morphology of gelada tongue, salivary glands, stomach, and intestine were examined in this study. Gas production was measured between 4 and 96hr using animal feces incubated with 200mg of air-dry hay or mixed concentrate sample. For grass hay, 12-hr gas production was as follows: T. gelada (19.9ml)>Papio (18.4ml)>Equus (15.7ml). After 24hr, gas production changed: Papio (35.1ml)>T. gelada (31.9ml)>Equus (27.9ml). At 96hr, Papio was unexpectedly the most effective species with the highest gas production (53.1ml)>zebra (51.2ml)>gelada (49.4ml). With a concentrate standard, 12-hr gas production was as follows: T. gelada (38.5ml)>Equus (36.8ml) = Papio (36.4ml). At 24hr, gas production differed: Papio (51.7ml)>Equus (47.0ml) = T. gelada (46.8ml). At 96hr, zebra was the most effective species with the highest gas production (63.9ml)>Papio (60ml) = T. gelada (59.9ml). In conclusion, the results show that the microbial population present in gelada feces is able to ferment forage and concentrate substrates in vitro, although this fermentation did not occur with the expected effectiveness. Future studies should therefore focus also on the bacteria species involved. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Mau M.,University of Bonn | Sudekum K.-H.,University of Bonn | Johann A.,Naturzoo Rheine | Sliwa A.,Zoologischer Garten Cologne | Kaiser T.M.,University of Hamburg
Journal of Medical Primatology | Year: 2010

Background: Little is known about salivary α-amylase expression in primates. Methods: We compared saliva of gelada and hamadryas baboons, chimpanzees and humans using SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting. Results and conclusions: Amylase expression was increased in hamadryas baboons (P = 0.0376) compared to humans and might indicate dietary starch use in Cercopithecines. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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