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Elephant nutrition in Dutch zoos

Elephant nutrition in Dutch zoos

Samenvatting

There is no clear overview of the current dietary practices and problems with regard to elephants within Dutch and Belgian zoos, so to be able to assess whether zoos comply with current requirements. The goal of this study was to gain insight in the present feeding practices of the African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants held in Dutch and Belgian zoos and to compare these to the current dietary ex-situ requirements for elephants. Elephant are hindgut fermenters with a low digestive efficiency. Their natural diets vary enormously and are of low quality. The low digestive efficiency and low feed quality result in a high forage and feeding time of 15-18 hours a day. Their diet in captivity, however, is relatively high in quality with a high energy and sugar content compared to the natural diet. Products like fruit, concentrates and bread lead to the high energy and sugar content. Obesity can be a result of this and is therefore a major problem among captive elephants. Other nutrition related health problems include foot problems, vitamin E deficiency, colic and hypocalcaemia.

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OrganisatieVan Hall Larenstein
InstituutDiermanagement
PartnersHogeschool Van Hall Larenstein
NVD nutritional group
Gepubliceerd in
Datum2012-02-01
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalEngels

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