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Case Studies

Nutritional Physiology of Asian Elephants

While Asian Elephant nutrition has been studied overseas, no information is available for Australian conditions. Assumptions based on the physiology of other large herbivores are problematic because elephants, being much larger, may have different nutritional needs. This preliminary study indicated that these assumptions may not be appropriate in determining the best possible diet for our elephants.

Current Projects

Remote Determination of Free-Ranging Diets

Plants eaten by herbivorous species have a specific chemical signature. Even after digestion, the signature remains in the faecal samples of the species which eat them. Zoo-based populations of wildlife species can help determine these plant signatures by being fed known species and assessing the signatures in their faecal samples. This will help us develop the reference data needed to determine the diet of free-ranging animals from their faecal samples alone, and discover how diets change under different environmental conditions.

Researcher Profiles

Researcher Profiles
Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos have attracted some of the best scientific minds in the world. Working together they are making a positive difference for wildlife.

Taronga Zoo, Dr. Rebecca Spindler

Graham John Faichney