Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-l48q4 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-27T12:36:16.554Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

6 - Nutrition and dietary husbandry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2009

Mark S. Edwards
Affiliation:
San Diego Zoo, Zoological Society of San Diego
Guiquan Zhang
Affiliation:
China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda
Rongping Wei
Affiliation:
China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda
Xuanzhen Liu
Affiliation:
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
David E. Wildt
Affiliation:
Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC
Anju Zhang
Affiliation:
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Hemin Zhang
Affiliation:
Wildlife Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas
Donald L. Janssen
Affiliation:
Zoological Society of San Diego
Susie Ellis
Affiliation:
Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
Get access

Summary

INTRODUCTION

Nutrition involves a series of processes whereby an animal uses items in its external environment to support internal metabolism (Robbins, 1993). The nutrition and consequent nutritional status of an animal are basic to all aspects of health, including growth, reproduction and disease resistance. Thus, appropriate nutrition and feeding are essential to a comprehensive animal management and preventative medicine programme.

The giant panda's obligate dependence upon bamboo as a primary energy and nutrient source has been well described (Sheldon, 1937; Schaller et al., 1985). Many aspects of panda biology are directly related to its adaptations for utilisation of this highly fibrous, low energy density food, thus demonstrating the inseparable influence of nutrition on behaviour, reproduction and other physiological functions. There may be few other species that more effectively illustrate how an understanding of nutritional adaptations helps us interpret the species ecology.

This chapter describes insights into the nutritional adaptations of the giant panda while identifying priority research that will fill gaps in our understanding of these unique abilities. Historical and current strategies on feeding giant pandas in captivity are presented along with recommendations for improving nutrition and dietary husbandry to promote health and feeding behaviours.

ANATOMY, PHYSIOLOGY, GUIDELINES AND ASSESSMENT

Feeding ecology and anatomical adaptations to a herbivorous diet

More than 99% of the food consumed by the free-ranging giant panda consists of bamboo (Schaller et al., 1985). Yet the giant panda is unique in that it has the relatively simple gastrointestinal tract of a carnivore.

Type
Chapter
Information
Giant Pandas
Biology, Veterinary Medicine and Management
, pp. 101 - 158
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) (2004). 2004 Official Publication. Oxford, In: Association of American Feed Control Officials, Inc.
Blaxter, K. L., McGraham, N. and Wainman, F. W. (1956). Some observations on the digestibility of food by sheep and on related problems. British Journal of Nutrition, 10, 69–91.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Burns, R. A., LeFaivre, M. H. and Milner, J. A. (1982). Effects of dietary protein quantity and quality on the growth of dogs and rats. Journal of Nutrition, 112, 1843–53.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Carter, J., Ackleh, A. S., Leonard, B. P. and Wang, H. (1999). Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) population dynamics and bamboo (subfamily Bambusoideae) life history: a structured population approach to examining carrying capacity when the prey are semelparous. Ecological Modeling, 123, 207–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
CBSG (Conservation Breeding Specialist Group) (2001). Report on 1999–2000 CBSG Biomedical Survey of Giant Pandas in Captivity in China. Apple Valley, MN: IUCN–World Conservation Union/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.
Chorn, J. and Hoffman, R. S. (1978). Ailuropoda melanoleuca. Mammalian Species, 110, 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crouzet, Y. and Frädrich, H. (1985). Bamboo as a panda diet. Bongo, 10, 21–6.Google Scholar
Davis, D. D. (1964). The Giant Panda. A Morphological Study of Evolutionary Mechanisms. Fieldiana: Zoological Memoirs. Volume 3, Chicago, IL: Chicago Natural History Museum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dierenfeld, E. S. (1997). Chemical composition of bamboo in relation to giant panda nutrition. In The Bamboos, ed. Chapman, G. P.. London: Linnean Society of London, pp. 205–11.Google Scholar
Dierenfeld, E. S., Hintz, H. F., Robertson, J. B., Soest, P. J. and Oftedal, O. T. (1982). Utilization of bamboo by the giant panda. Journal of Nutrition, 112, 636–41.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dierenfeld, E. S., Qiu, X., Mainka, S. A. and Liu, W. (1995). Giant panda diets fed in five Chinese facilities: an assessment. Zoo Biology, 14, 211–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Edwards, M. S. (1995). Comparative Adaptations to Folivory in Primates. Doctoral dissertation. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.Google Scholar
Edwards, M. S. (1996). Nutritional management of giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at the Zoological Society of San Diego. Technical Conference of Giant Panda Breeding (Chengdu) Beijing: Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens.Google Scholar
Edwards, M. S. (2003). Nutrition of zoo animals. Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition in Australia, 14, 1–9.Google Scholar
Edwards, M. S. and Nickley, J. K. (2000). Development of a fecal consistency scoring system for giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). In Panda 2000: Priorities for the New Millennium, ed. Lindburg, D. and Baragona, K.. San Diego, CA: Zoological Society of San Diego, p. 367.Google Scholar
Edwards, M. S. and Zhang, G. (1997). Preliminary observations on the use of a higher fiber biscuit as a supplemental food item for giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). In International Symposium on the Protection of the Giant Panda.Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology, pp. 50–2.Google Scholar
Endo, H., Sasaki, M., Yamagiwa, D.et al. (1996). Functional anatomy of the radial sesamoid bone in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Anatomy, 189, 587–92.Google Scholar
Endo, H., Makita, T., Sasaki, M.et al. (1999). Comparative anatomy of the radial sesamoid bone in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 61, 903–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Endo, H., Sasaki, M., Hayashi, Y.et al. (2001). Carpal bone movements in gripping action of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Anatomy, 198, 243–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fahey, G. C. Jr. and Jung, H. G. (1983). Lignin as a marker in digestion studies: a review. Journal of Animal Science, 57, 220–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feng, W. H., Zhang, F. X., Huang, X. M.et al. (1993). Study on the numeral change and artificial breeding effect of giant panda. In Minutes of the International Symposium on the Protection of the Giant Panda, ed. Zhang, A. and He, G.. Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology, pp. 226–30.Google Scholar
Goss, L. J. (1940). Acute hemorrhagic gastro-enteritis in a giant panda. Zoological Scientific Contributions of the New York Zoological Society, 25, 261–2.Google Scholar
Hirayama, K., Kawamura, S., Mitsuoka, T. and Tashiro, K. (1989). The faecal flora of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Applied Bacteriology, 67, 411–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kametaka, M., Takahashi, M., Nakazato, R.et al. (1988). Digestibility of dietary fiber in giant pandas and its importance for their nutrition. In Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Giant Panda.Tokyo: Tokyo Zoological Park Society, pp. 143–52.Google Scholar
Li, C. G. (ed.) (1997). A Study of Staple Food Bamboo for the Giant Panda. Guiyang, Guizhou: Guizhou Scientific Publisher. (In Chinese with English summaries.)Google Scholar
Liu, X., Yu, J., Li, M., Yang, Z. and Li, G. (2002). Study of crude protein intake and growth response in captive subadult giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Zoo Biology, 21, 223–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Long, Y., Lu, Z., Wang, D. et al. (2004). The nutritional strategy of giant pandas in the Qinling Mountains of China. In Giant Pandas: Biology and Conservation, ed. Lindburg, D. and Baragona, K.. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. 90–100.Google Scholar
MacFarlane, W. V. and Howard, B. (1972). Comparative water and energy economy of wild and domestic mammals. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, 31, 261–96.Google Scholar
Mainka, S. A., Guanlu, Z. and Mao, L. (1989). Utilization of a bamboo, sugar cane and gruel diet by two juvenile giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 20, 39–44.Google Scholar
Masman, W. (1995). Bamboo names and synonyms. http://home.iae.nl/users/pms/wmas_dbase/synonyms.html (accessed May 2005).
McClure, F. (1943). Bamboo as panda food. Journal of Mammology, 24, 267–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nickley, J. K. (2001). Giant Pandas: Bamboo Intake and Fecal Analysis. Master of Science Thesis. Pomona, CA: California State Polytechnic University.Google Scholar
Nickley, J. K., Edwards, M. S. and Bray, R. E. (1999). The effect of bamboo intake on fecal consistency in giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). In Proceedings of the Third Conference of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Nutrition Advisory Group. Columbus, OH, pp. 46–50.Google Scholar
NRC (National Research Council) (1985). Nutrient Requirements of Dogs. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
NRC (National Research Council) (1993). Nutrient Requirements of Fish. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
NRC (National Research Council) (2003). Nutrient Requirements of Nonhuman Primates, 2nd rev. edn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
NRC (National Research Council) (2004). Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Pan, W. (1988). The panda's food and nutritional value. In The Giant Panda's Natural Refuge in the Qinling Mountains, ed. Pan, W., Gao, Z., Lu, Z.et al. pp. 129–46. Beijing:Peking University Publisher. (In Chinese with an English summary.)Google Scholar
Pan, W., Oftedal, O. T., Zhu, X.et al. (1998). Milk composition and nursing in a giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Acta Scientiarum Naturalium, 34, 350–1.Google Scholar
Qing, S. (1977). Bamboos and the giant panda in the Min Mountains. Botanical Journal, 3, 38–9. (In Chinese.)Google Scholar
Raven, H. C. (1937). Notes on the anatomy and viscera of the giant panda. American Museum Novitiates, 877, 1–23.Google Scholar
Reid, D. G. and Hu, J. (1991). Giant panda selection between Bashania fangiana bamboo habitats in Wolong Reserve, Sichuan, China. Journal of Applied Ecology, 28, 228–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robbins, C. T. (1993). Wildlife Feeding and Nutrition, 2nd edn. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Schaller, G. B. (1993). The Last Panda. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Schaller, G. B., Hu, J., Pan, W. and Zhu, J. (1985). Feeding strategy. In The Giant Pandas of Wolong, ed. Schaller, G. B., Hu, J., Pan, W. and Zhu, J.. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp. 37–107.
Sheldon, W. (1937). Notes on the giant panda. Journal of Mammalogy, 18, 13–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shor, G. (ed.) (2001). Bamboo Source List, Number 21. Albany, NY: American Bamboo Society.Google Scholar
Tabet, R. B., Oftedal, O. T. and Allen, M. E. (2004). Seasonal differences in composition of bamboo fed to giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at the National Zoo. In Proceedings of the Fifth Comparative Nutrition Society Symposium. Hickory Corners, MI, pp. 176–83.Google Scholar
Ullrey, D. E. (1989). Nutritional wisdom (editorial). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 20, 1–2.Google Scholar
Soest, P. J. (1994). Nutritional Ecology of the Ruminant, 2nd edn. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Wang, M. (ed.) (1989). A Comprehensive Survey Report On China's Giant Panda and Its Habitat. Ministry of Forestry, Beijing, and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. (In Chinese.)Google Scholar
Wang, S. and Lu, C. (1973). Giant pandas in the wild. Natural History, 82, 70–1.Google Scholar
Wang, P., Cao, C. & Chen, M. (1982). Histological survey of the alimentary tract of the giant panda. Zoological Research, 3 (suppl.), 27–8. (In Chinese.)Google Scholar
Warnell, K. J. (1988). Feed intake, digestibility, digesta passage and fecal microbial ecology of the red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Master of Science Thesis. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.
Warnell, K. J., Crissey, S. D. and Oftedal, O. T. (1989). Utilization of bamboo and other fiber sources in red panda diets. In Red Panda Biology, ed. Glatson, A. R.. The Hague: SPB Academic Publishing, pp. 51–6.Google Scholar
Wei, F., Feng, Z., Wang, Z., Zhou, A. and Hu, J. (1999). Use of the nutrients in bamboo by the red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Journal of Zoology (London), 248, 535–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yong, Y. (1981). The preliminary observations on the giant panda in Foping Natural Reserve. Wildlife, 4, 10–16. (In Chinese.)Google Scholar
Zhu, X., Lindburg, D. G., Pan, W., Forney, K. A. and Wang, D. (2001). The reproductive strategy of giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca): infant growth and development and mother-infant relationships. Journal of Zoology (London), 253, 141–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zou, X., Wang, A., Zou, Q. et al. (1993). The experiment on giant pandas' digestion and metabolism. In International Symposium on the Protection of the Giant Panda, ed. Zhang, A. and He, G.. Chengdu: Chengdu Foundation of Giant Panda Breeding, pp. 284–289. (Chinese manuscript with English abstract.)Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×