Meat food at the zoo slowly kills wild bears

Meat food at the zoo slowly kills wild bears

Researchers from Washington State University, Texas University A&M and Memphis Zoo have studied the diets of giant pandas and Lenivian bears, and the results published in Scientific Reports give new evidence that bears are all-man, like humans, and they need much less protein than they usually give in zoos.

In their work, scientists offered giant pandas to choose carbohydrate-rich bamboo and high-protein leaves, and it turned out that pandas preferred leaves to tree carbohydrates. At some points in time, the proportion of carbohydrates reached 98 per cent. Similar data were obtained from feeding pandas in five Chinese zoos: animals preferred diets with high carbohydrates and low proteins.

The same results were obtained by researchers when they examined the feeding of six lazy bears in Cleveland zoos, Little Rock and San Diego. They were given unlimited quantities of avocados, baked yams, serums and apples. They chose almost exclusively high fat avocados, eating about 88% avocados and 12% bats, and completely ignoring apples. This showed that the Lenivian bears preferred a diet of high fat and low carbohydrates, which resembles natural diets consisting of termites and ants, as well as their eggs and larvae.

Scientists note that a similar picture was previously observed by researchers in the study of polar bears, and these animals, if they are given a choice, prefer a fatty diet against the traditional protein food they are given.

Researchers note that poor nutrition can reduce the life expectancy of animals in captivity and lead to kidney and liver diseases.