Posted by: 4pack | December 14, 2008

“Ideal Weight” Update: Zoo Animals Can Act As Role Models For Overweight And Obese Men Who Just Can’t Seem To Lose Weight

FOUR PACKS IS CALLING ON LOCAL ZOO ADMINISTRATORS TO START LECTURING OVERWEIGHT OGGIES ON THE MERITS OF MONITORING CALORIES AND EXERCISE…HIPPOS AND GORILLAS CAN ACT AS ROLE MODELS FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT JUST CAN’T SEEM TO LOSE THE WEIGHT AND GET INTO IDEAL SHAPE…AND THESE MAMMALS ARE CONFINED TO CAGES AND HOLDING AREAS…NO SUCH EXCUSES EXIST FOR HUMANS….

 

hippo

“It’s actually a huge problem,” Professor Michael Stoskopf of N.C. State told the Raleigh News & Observer. “You have to look at not only diets themselves and the amount of calories delivered, but also things like exercise.”

Zoo animals also suffer from lack of activity because, unlike their wild counterparts, they don’t have to spend so much time foraging for food. “If the energy going in exceeds the energy going out, you’re going to get fat,” Lisi said.

 

http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2008/dec/14/what-to-do-when-a-hippo-gets-too-hippy/

How does a zookeeper know when his hungry hippo is too fat and what can be done to slim her down?

Those are some of the questions being posed at a two-day symposium at N.C. State University this weekend. Zoo nutritionists and scientists are looking at how to keep zoo animals from suffering the ill-health effects of too much weight.

“It’s actually a huge problem,” Professor Michael Stoskopf of N.C. State told the Raleigh News & Observer. “You have to look at not only diets themselves and the amount of calories delivered, but also things like exercise.”

A spectacled bear that arrived at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in January had an obvious weight problem — so much so that he struggled just to stand. He was put on a strict, low-calorie diet, and dropped more than 100 pounds to get down to 370 pounds by August.

Karen Lisi, a nutritionist at the Smithsonian Zoo, said that the zoo has its own nutrition lab because the dietary needs of the zoo’s 400 species vary so wildly.

For example, she said, birds alone can range from nectar-sipping hummingbirds to rotted-meat-eating vultures. Lisi said that diets also have to be adjusted to compensate for pregnancy or aging.

Zoo animals also suffer from lack of activity because, unlike their wild counterparts, they don’t have to spend so much time foraging for food. “If the energy going in exceeds the energy going out, you’re going to get fat,” Lisi said.

And, as they gain weight, the animals tend to move around even less.

Richard Bergl, the curator of conservation and research at the N.C. Zoological Park in Asheboro, said that gorillas in the wild eat lots of low-calorie food such as leaves and bark. In zoos, they often are fed formulated biscuits that have more calories, but less bulk.

Since they don’t have to find their own food, the animals tend to sit around like couch potatoes and aren’t very exciting for zoo visitors.

“You do worry about the psychological well-being of the animals,” Bergl said. “But also from the public’s standpoint, when people see animals sitting around looking bored, it’s hard to empathize that his zoo put four gorillas on a no-biscuit diet. They take in 100 pounds of the low-calorie vegetables, including kale, cabbage and carrots.

He said that the zoo hasn’t been able to evaluate any health changes, but the animals are more active.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. […] for many animals, in particular larger species such as elephants and hippopotami.  It is a common problem for zoo keepers,  who often have to address the specific dietary requirements of many different […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: