Animal experts from all over the world are gathering at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park this week to discuss nutrition. Over 50 delegates are attending from across the UK and Europe as well as Israel, Russia and Taipei.
The three-day Primate Nutrition Workshop is being run by Paignton Zoo staff and is recognised by British and European zoo bodies as a certified training course.
Paignton Zoo Senior Head Keeper of Mammals Matthew Webb said: “This workshop is designed for people working at all levels of zoology and for anyone caring for primates in a managed environment.
“We’re covering all aspects of primate nutrition across a range of species, including primate digestive biology, wild diets, medical and health issues, nutrient requirements, diet provision, browse, body condition and faecal scoring – which means looking at poo!”
Zoo experts and guest speakers will give presentations on natural primate diets, the history of primate diets in zoos, diet-related health issues, nutrients, the importance of browse (small branches and leafy boughs of trees), monitoring and recording diets and implementing dietary changes.
Dr Amy Plowman, Director of Conservation and Education for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, the charity which runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts and Newquay Zoo, said: “We have two external speakers. One is Frances Baines, a retired vet who specializes in UV light provision. UV light is important for most primates, and we’ve been looking at the effects of new lights in some of our enclosures. The other isChristoph Schwitzer, Director of Conservation at Bristol Zoo and a specialist in all things lemur!”
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 01803 697500.