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Comparative use of four different marker systems for the estimation of digestibility and low food intake in a group of captive giraffes (giraffa camelopardalis)


Clauss, Marcus; Lechner-Doll, Matthias; Flach, Edmund J; Tack, Cliff; Hatt, Jean-Michel (2001). Comparative use of four different marker systems for the estimation of digestibility and low food intake in a group of captive giraffes (giraffa camelopardalis). Zoo Biology, 20(4):315-329.

Abstract

In a feeding trial with four captive giraffes, nutrient digestibility was determined using four different marker systems. Although cobalt-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid proved to have no utility as a digestibility marker in this study, reasonable values could be obtained using C36 n-alkane, acid detergent lignin, and acid insoluble ash as markers. A comparison of methods and literature data suggests that the values derived from the C36 n-alkane assay are the most reliable absolute values. Apparent digestibility ranges thus determined were 63.5-74.3% for dry matter, 73.4-82.4% for crude protein, 49.9-62.2% for neutral detergent fiber, and 49.7-63.7% for acid detergent fiber. However, digestibility data gained by the ADL method provided the most stringent inter-individual comparisons. It is concluded that both alkanes and lignin can be used for giraffe digestibility studies. These captive giraffes ingested a smaller quantity of food than has been reported for other giraffes from both the wild and other zoos. Energetic calculations showed that these animals might be on the brink of an energy deficit. A similar situation has been described at least once before in captive giraffes, and the results are of direct relevance to the peracute mortality syndrome, a condition of captive giraffes in which severe depletion of body fat stores occurs. Reasons for the seemingly low food intake could not be elucidated, but observations suggested that these giraffes were ready to ingest more if more palatable or suitable food was offered. Monitoring food intake in other giraffe groups and designing a diet that is both palatable and nutritious are important objectives of captive giraffe management.

In a feeding trial with four captive giraffes, nutrient digestibility was determined using four different marker systems. Although cobalt-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid proved to have no utility as a digestibility marker in this study, reasonable values could be obtained using C36 n-alkane, acid detergent lignin, and acid insoluble ash as markers. A comparison of methods and literature data suggests that the values derived from the C36 n-alkane assay are the most reliable absolute values. Apparent digestibility ranges thus determined were 63.5-74.3% for dry matter, 73.4-82.4% for crude protein, 49.9-62.2% for neutral detergent fiber, and 49.7-63.7% for acid detergent fiber. However, digestibility data gained by the ADL method provided the most stringent inter-individual comparisons. It is concluded that both alkanes and lignin can be used for giraffe digestibility studies. These captive giraffes ingested a smaller quantity of food than has been reported for other giraffes from both the wild and other zoos. Energetic calculations showed that these animals might be on the brink of an energy deficit. A similar situation has been described at least once before in captive giraffes, and the results are of direct relevance to the peracute mortality syndrome, a condition of captive giraffes in which severe depletion of body fat stores occurs. Reasons for the seemingly low food intake could not be elucidated, but observations suggested that these giraffes were ready to ingest more if more palatable or suitable food was offered. Monitoring food intake in other giraffe groups and designing a diet that is both palatable and nutritious are important objectives of captive giraffe management.

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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:2001
Deposited On:10 Nov 2008 14:02
Last Modified:07 Sep 2016 08:42
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0733-3188
Publisher DOI:10.1002/zoo.1031
Related URLs:https://biblio.uzh.ch/F/?local_base=UZH01&con_lng=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=000281662
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3495

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