Animal Science and Technology
Kaiser, Emma, M B
Fisheries, Animal, and Veterinary Science
Diet; Mammals; Nutrition; Zoo
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Zoos provide both experiential and educational opportunities for the general public to learn about animals found in a variety of habitats around the world. A successful zoo must provide a safe and enjoyable environment for the visitors, in addition to the species living within the enclosures. Animal husbandry and welfare are crucial aspects to which close attention must be paid, and zoos have a responsibility to attempt to approximate the captive species’ natural habitats and life histories. An essential part of maintaining a captive zoo animal’s health and wellbeing is providing the animal with an appropriate diet. In addition to supporting the animal’s physical health, a good diet can be used to provide stimulating enrichment to captive wildlife. Food is one of the most commonly used forms of enrichment provided to captive animals in order to stimulate mental problem solving, foraging, and even hunting behaviors that would normally be exhibited in the wild. Good nutrition is also critical in order to prevent many diseases in captive animals, which they would likely not be at risk of developing if they were living in their natural habitat. To provide the animals a properly balanced nutritional meal plan, both qualitative and quantitative measures must be considered in the selection of food. Creating proper proportions of meals and balancing nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, and water for each species improves the overall wellbeing of the animals found at a zoo. Capron Park Zoo, located in Attleboro, MA, strives to provide high quality nutrition to a diverse range of captive wild animals. The existing meal plans fed to the mammals residing at Capron Park Zoo have not been reviewed or analyzed in recent years. Nutritional research is ongoing and new discoveries are constantly being made, so it is crucial for zoos to stay up to date regarding the recommended diets for the animals. By reviewing and analyzing existing meal plans and performing a literature review on the diet and nutritional needs of each species, the purpose of this project was to revise or alter Capron Park Zoo’s current meal plans in order to provide the resident mammals with the highest quality care possible.