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Energy and mineral nutrition and water intake in the captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)


Clauss, M; Polster, C; Kienzle, E; Wiesner, H; Baumgartner, K; von Houwald, F; Streich, W J; Dierenfeld, E (2005). Energy and mineral nutrition and water intake in the captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). Zoo Biology, 24(1):1-14.

Abstract

In the captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), two disease complexes with a high incidence-chronic foot problems and uterine leiomyomas-may be linked to excess body weight (BW). In this study, intake and digestion trials were conducted (by means of 7-day weigh-backs, and 5-day total fecal collections, respectively) with I I Indian rhinoceroses at four zoological institutions in Europe and the United States to quantify energy and mineral nutrition on conventional or roughage-only diets. Diets comprising a variety of forages (grass hay only, a combination of grass hay and grass silage, straw, or a mixture of grass and legume hay) were offered as the roughage source, along with various concentrates, produce, and supplements. Water intake was quantified, and urine samples were obtained opportunistically. The animals consumed 0.5-1.1% of their BW in dry matter (DM) daily, with calculated digestible energy (DE, in megajoules MJ) values ranging from 0.27 to 0.99 MJ DE/kg BW0.75/day compared to an estimated requirement of 0.49-0.66 MJ DE/kg BW0.75/day. Seven of 11 rhinos (64%) fed restricted levels of concentrate plus forage consumed DE in excess of this estimate. Even on roughage-only diets, some individuals consumed energy well above the presumed metabolic requirements. Hence, restriction of both concentrates and roughage may be important for weight management in this species. Water intake ranged from 30 to 49 mL/kg BW daily (3.4-5.2 L/kg ingested DM), similar to values that have been reported for domestic equids. Excretion amounts and patterns also resembled those found in horses. Endogenous fecal losses measured for Ca, P, Cu, Fe, and Zn indicate that the maintenance requirements of these minerals should be met in Indian rhinoceroses by diets that meet recommendations for domestic horses. It is particularly important to evaluate dietary adequacy in mineral nutrition in this species in concert with the need for restricted energy intake, especially with regard to the hypothetical involvement of a low Zn supply in chronic foot problems.

In the captive Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), two disease complexes with a high incidence-chronic foot problems and uterine leiomyomas-may be linked to excess body weight (BW). In this study, intake and digestion trials were conducted (by means of 7-day weigh-backs, and 5-day total fecal collections, respectively) with I I Indian rhinoceroses at four zoological institutions in Europe and the United States to quantify energy and mineral nutrition on conventional or roughage-only diets. Diets comprising a variety of forages (grass hay only, a combination of grass hay and grass silage, straw, or a mixture of grass and legume hay) were offered as the roughage source, along with various concentrates, produce, and supplements. Water intake was quantified, and urine samples were obtained opportunistically. The animals consumed 0.5-1.1% of their BW in dry matter (DM) daily, with calculated digestible energy (DE, in megajoules MJ) values ranging from 0.27 to 0.99 MJ DE/kg BW0.75/day compared to an estimated requirement of 0.49-0.66 MJ DE/kg BW0.75/day. Seven of 11 rhinos (64%) fed restricted levels of concentrate plus forage consumed DE in excess of this estimate. Even on roughage-only diets, some individuals consumed energy well above the presumed metabolic requirements. Hence, restriction of both concentrates and roughage may be important for weight management in this species. Water intake ranged from 30 to 49 mL/kg BW daily (3.4-5.2 L/kg ingested DM), similar to values that have been reported for domestic equids. Excretion amounts and patterns also resembled those found in horses. Endogenous fecal losses measured for Ca, P, Cu, Fe, and Zn indicate that the maintenance requirements of these minerals should be met in Indian rhinoceroses by diets that meet recommendations for domestic horses. It is particularly important to evaluate dietary adequacy in mineral nutrition in this species in concert with the need for restricted energy intake, especially with regard to the hypothetical involvement of a low Zn supply in chronic foot problems.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2005
Deposited On:28 Apr 2008 14:14
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:23
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0733-3188
Publisher DOI:10.1002/zoo.20032
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2410

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