Trace Elements For Zoo Animals – Article Example

full Diet and Nutrition (Tigers in zoos or captivity) 27 January Animals kept in captivity, whether in zoos or held as exotic pets, face unique but not unusual nutritional requirements in terms of their diets during feeding time. Some of these requirements are difficult to meet while these animals are in captivity, either from lack of any fresh food available or the type of food which they usually get in wild environments. A lack of certain trace elements can be traced to the type of food they are given, which in most cases also result into certain ailments and diseases due to nutritional deficiencies (Baker & Bivin 108). The zoo animal chosen for this paper is the tiger which belongs to the big cat family.
Calcium is the trace element tigers need the most and this deficiency happens when the tiger is feed mostly red meat only, which lacks adequate calcium content. They are better off if given a whole carcass which includes the bones of the dead animal which has plenty of calcium in it. This will help prevent metabolic bone disease (Brickley & Ives 2) that causes a lot of bone deformities and associated with arthritis in tigers (Weissman 5) and humans.
Other than calcium, tigers also need vitamin A, protein, niacin, and taurine. Vitamin A is required because tigers have lost the ability to convert pro-vitamin carotenoids into retinol which is needed for good vision. Tigers require very high levels of protein, unlike the other big carnivores, as tigers have limited ability to conserve nitrogen in their bodies (Pond 670) in a simple digestive system. Niacin is necessary for growth and reproduction while taurine is needed for adequate tissue synthesis while growing and for proper maintenance of its health. Arginine is also required to safely dispose the accumulated nitrogen via the urea cycle (Gelatt et al. 1781) to prevent cataracts and retinal degeneration observed in most tigers at zoos.
Works Cited
Baker, David G., and W. Sheldon Bivin. Mike the Tiger: The Roar of LSU. Chapel Hill, NC, USA: Louisiana State University Press, 2003. Print.
Brickley, Megan, and Rachel Ives. The Bioarchaeology of Metabolic Bone Disease. Burlington, MA, USA: Academic Press, 2008. Print.
Gelatt, Kirk N., Brian C. Gilger, and Thomas G. Kern. Veterinary Ophthalmology. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2013. Print.
Pond, Wilson G. Encyclopedia of Animal Science. Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press, 2004. Print.
Weissman, Barbara N. W. Imaging of Arthritis and Metabolic Bone Disease. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2009. Print.