Nutrient Balancing by Captive Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)
An organism’s fitness is tied closely to its ability to obtain food. However, many foods are nutritionally suboptimal on their own, forcing an individual to develop a feeding strategy that actively manages both type and amount of food consumed. Animals in captivity are additionally limited to human provisioned diets, which may be nutritionally inadequate and negatively affect behavior and health. We studied the nutritional intake of captive golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) at two locations in China (132 days of continuous, sunrise to sunset focal samples of 7 individuals at each site) and used the Geometric Framework for nutrition to identify their feeding strategy and evaluate diet variation across sites, seasons, and age–sex classes. Captive golden snub-nosed monkeys had a mean nutrient intake of 75% carbohydrates (15% neutral detergent fiber, 60% total nonstructural carbohydrates), 12% fat, and 13% protein (by energy) that differed by location and season owing to differences in the type and amount of food items offered and consumed. Intake at one location differed from that of wild golden snub-nosed monkeys, suggesting that the captive diet was inadequate. These results highlight the importance of developing nutritionally adequate diets for captive animals based on an understanding of their nutritional requirements.
KeywordsCaptivity Geometric framework Nutrition
The authors would like to thank the Shaanxi Provincial Wildlife Rescue Center, Hangzhou Zoo, and their staff for permission to conduct this study and helpful insights on diet planning. Special thanks to Drs. Bobbi Low and Jacinta Beehner (University of Michigan) for advice on methodology and comments on an early draft. This study was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (31672301, 31872247,31270441, 31730104); National Key Programme of Research and Development, Ministry of Science and Technology (2016YFC0503200); Natural Science Basic Research Plan in Shaanxi Province of China (2016JZ009, 2018JC-022); Fok Ying Tung Education Foundation (131105); and The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program of Northwest University. S. T. Chen was supported by an International Institute Individual Fellowship (University of Michigan) and a Fulbright Student Scholarship while collecting data. We thank the editor and several anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on current and previous drafts.
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