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Title:Nutrient composition of foodstuffs available to wild lemurs living in the Analamazaotra Special Reserve, eastern Madagascar, and a survey of diets fed to captive black-and-white ruffed lemurs at United States zoological institutions
Author(s):Donadeo, Brett
Advisor(s):Swanson, Kelly S.
Department / Program:Animal Sciences
Discipline:Animal Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Propithecus diadema
Varecia variegata
Abstract:Lemurs are a group of primates endemic to Madagascar, an island off the southeastern coast of Africa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists 39 of the 93 recognized species of lemur in Threatened categories, including the Endangered diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) and the Critically Endangered black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata). Human activities on the island, such as agriculture, logging, and hunting of lemurs for bushmeat, are significant stresses on lemur populations. Conservation efforts for lemurs include Species Survival Plan® Programs (SSP) for some species. Diets for animals in zoological parks often are based on the nutrient requirements of domestic animals or closely related exotic animals that have a history in captivity. In order to more fully understand the nutrient requirements of a species, studies of foraging behavior in the wild may be combined with nutrient analyses of the items selected in the wild. Nutrient composition of captive diets also must be determined to assess the impact of ingredient inclusion on captive lemur health, especially obesity and diabetes that are common problems in captive populations. Previous studies have investigated the nutrient composition of wild lemur diets, but the literature specific to P. diadema is limited. To obtain more data on the diets of wild P. diadema, twelve known groups of P. diadema in the Analamazaotra Special Reserve (ASR), Madagascar, were observed from October, 2008, to March, 2009. Samples from plants within the range occupied by the observed lemurs were collected, dried at 55°C, and secured in heat sealed bags for transport to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (OHDZ). The Nutrition Department at OHDZ analyzed the samples for crude protein (CP) and gross energy (GE) and then stored them at 4°C until shipment to the University of Illinois (UI). At UI, 13 plant species, totaling 36 samples, were selected for further analysis, with both fruits (n = 15) and leaves (n = 21) analyzed iii for each species. Fat concentrations were determined via acid hydrolysis. Dietary fiber fractions were determined via three assays: total dietary fiber (TDF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Nitrogen-free extract (NFE) was calculated to estimate digestible carbohydrate content. Leaves tended to be higher in CP compared with fruits. Total dietary fiber concentrations also were higher in leaves than in fruits. Conversely, leaves were lower in AHF and NFE than were fruits. The data from this study will improve understanding of the nutrient composition of dietary items available to wild lemurs in ASR. Additionally, a survey was conducted to determine items used in diets fed to captive V. variegata at institutions in the United States listed in the International Species Information Systems (ISIS) registry. The survey identified the type and amount of diet items fed to captive V. variegata, and nutritional analysis software was used to estimate the chemical composition and gross energy content of captive diets. Data from 33 institutions that responded to the survey were compiled. The most commonly included items were bananas (31 of 33 institutions) and apples (29 of 33 institutions). A majority of institutions fed Marion Zoological’s Leaf Eater biscuit (10 institutions), Mazuri’s Leaf Eater biscuit (14 institutions), Mazuri’s Primate Browse biscuit (10 institutions), or a combination of those biscuits. Estimated DM, OM, CP, fat, and TDF concentrations of captive diets ranged from 14.5% to 67.6% (DM basis, DMB), 93.1% to 97.2% DMB, 7.9% to 23.9% DMB, 2.0% to 6.5% DMB, and 10.1% to 28.1% DMB, respectively. In general, captive diets contained higher CP concentrations and lower fat and fiber concentrations than did wild diet items. Reducing the amount of fruit included in diets fed to captive V. variegata, and reformulating captive diets to more closely resemble wild diet items, could reduce the prevalence of obesity in captive V. variegata.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Brett Colin Donadeo
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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