Scandinavian Brown Bear Project
Abstract Bachelor Project FBT 2018-2019: TO CHARACTERIZE THE DIGESTIVE PHYSIOLOGY OF BROWN BEARS ON DIFFERENT FIBER-RICH DIETS BY MEANS OF MEASURING THE GASTO- INTESTINAL PASSAGE AND THE FECAL CONSISTENCY OF BROWN BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS)
In cooperation with Ugent Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Laboratory of animal nutrition
A good diet is important for the survival of a species. Recently, it was shown that fiber is present in animal matter (i.e. animal fiber) and that it is an essential part of the diet of carnivores (Depauw, 2013). Previous work in cheetahs and dogs has shown that animal fiber can be beneficial for carnivore gut health and provokes specific physiological effects in the digestive tract. The latter still needs further investigation which will be done by studying the passage of diets with varying fiber level and type in the brown bear (Ursus arctos), an omnivorous carnivore. The aim of this study is to characterize the digestive physiology of brown bears on different fiber-rich diets by means of measuring the gastrointestinal passage and the faecal consistency of brown bears. Eight brown bears (Ursus actros) and one kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) were studied at the Orsa predator park in Sweden. Four diets were used: grass, fruit, rabbit (whole prey) and beef. An incomplete crossover design was used with each period consisting of eleven days (five-day adaptation and six-day collection). During the adaptation period, a faecal consistency system was made. During collection, a total faecal collection was carried out, all faeces were scored and feed intake was monitored. On the fourth day of every period, the passage rate was tested by means of the passage marker Cr-hay.
Preliminary results show that firmer faeces result from the grass and rabbit diet whereas pure fruit and meat diets result in looser stools. Dry matter only shows a weak negative correlation with faecal score.
794 90 Orsa
Annelies De Cuyper