1Chester Zoo, Caughall Road, Upton by Chester, Chester, UK; 2California Polytechnic State University, Animal Science Department, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA; 3Format International Ltd, Format House, Poole Road, Woking, Surrey, UK
We all want to feed our animals well; within zoos and aquariums different stakeholders concentrate on different aspects of feeding. Some may be mostly concerned with the nutrient content, others with the way food is presented. The physical and behavioral health of animals may be a principal focus and sustainability, efficiency and costs are becoming increasingly significant drivers. Recording and cataloguing feeding practices and the outcome of adjustments, along with the means for systematic retrieval of said records at some later point in time, would represent a significant advance in the evaluation and dissemination of effective feeding practices. Sharing knowledge about best feeding practices could improve global management of living collections, with anecdotal descriptions replaced by observation, documentation and analysis.
Format FAUNA™ is bespoke software designed by members of the EAZA Nutrition Group and AZA’s Nutrition Advisory Group working with Format International. Our vision is a zoo diet management system for all those concerned with feeding our animals well that will ensure diet information is stored in a rigorous, standardized format. The application links to animal stock numbers, allowing comparison with food purchasing/accounts. FAUNA can be used for diet formulation, permitting the exchange of true ‘diet’ data—the nutrients that are being offered and consumed in specific quantities, not just a list of the food ingredients involved. It also allows for easy collation of diets used for many species at a single collection thereby fulfilling criteria for legal purposes or professional accreditation.
The authors wish to thank all those who have contributed to the discussion, development and design process to date: Cora Berndt, Marcus Clauss, Ellen Dierenfeld, Nate Flesness, David Gardner, Richard Gibson, Tjalling Huisman, Anthony Hutchinson, Geert Janssens, Karen Lisi, Helena Marques, Mike Maslanka, Joeke Nijboer, Amy Plowman, Jolanda Polet, Christoph Schwitzer, Stephanie Sanderson and Ann Ward.
1. Fidgett, A.L. and Webster M. 2011. Managing zoo diet information; what do we need from the next generation software? Zooquaria Nutrition News, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), Issue 5, 12–13.