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Title: Using feeding ecology to influence captive Slow Loris (Nycticebus spp.) nutrition and husbandry
Author: Cabana, Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 6121
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2016
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Despite the advancement of science within the animal nutrition field, specifically production and domestic animals, exotic animal nutrition is very little studied. Some species are so understudied or shrouded in routine and anecdotes that both zoos and rescue centres manage them the same way, the wrong way. The slow lorises Nycticebus spp. are one of these species. I aimed to investigate the diet of wild Javan slow lorises, in order to create an appropriate captive diet for them. My objectives were to assess the current state of captive slow loris diets, calculate the nutrient intake rates and energy expenditure in wild individuals, assess the importance of natural food items within their diet, and finally, to trial a new diet and assess its long term impacts on health. From June 2014 to June 2015 I collected behavioural and feeding data on 17 radio-collared wild Javan slow lorises near Cipaganti, Indonesia. Food samples were collected and analysed for proximate and fibre analyses. Our diet trials were conducted in a rescue centre where we introduced gum into their diets and recorded food passage time. We collecte faecal samples of wild and captive individuals and analysed them for chitinolytic activity. We developed a new diet and compared nutrient intake, digestion and passage rate of the old and new diets. Wild diet was gum, insects and plant parts with seasonal variations in intake. Average intake was high in protein and fibre, low in sugars. They are able to vary their behavior to adjust energy expenditure. Captive animals increased passage rates when fed gum and potentially can digest chitin. Our new diet of gum, insects and vegetables had similar physiological effects than wild diets: slower and more efficient digestion and more appropriate nutrient intake. It was conducive to optimum weight and health.
Supervisor: Nekaris, K. A. I. ; Donati, Giuseppe ; Dierenfeld, Ellen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral