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Most expensive zoo animals to house in terms of food cost?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by GreatApeFan7, 24 Jun 2021.

  1. GreatApeFan7

    GreatApeFan7 Active Member

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    What do you guys think are the most expensive species are in terms of food cost?
     
  2. Strix

    Strix Well-Known Member

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    Pandas and koalas.
     
  3. Haliaeetus

    Haliaeetus Well-Known Member

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    In Beauval, Pandas aren't the most expensive animals, because the bamboo they eat is bought in the region, or even grown inside the zoo.
    But few decades ago, Pandas seemed very expensive : the Zoo de Vincennes (that had for nearly 30 years a Panda) used to import the bamboo from China every week!

    The Koalas are far more expensive, followed by the Elephants (because of the amount of food needed) and, surprisingly, the Manatees.
     
  4. red river hog

    red river hog Well-Known Member

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    I'd say doucs and Proboscis Monkeys would be up there as well.
     
  5. GreatApeFan7

    GreatApeFan7 Active Member

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    God yeah, I remember watching a video by Burgers' Zoo about what they feed their manatees, which includes:
    • 1300 grams boiled beets
    • 950 grams boiled carrots
    • 24 kilos (!) endive
    • 5 kilos napa cabbage
    • 3 kilos celery
    • Some wheat
    ..and now multiply that by each manatee and there is your total cost to feed them everyday!
     
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  6. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member 15+ year member Premium Member

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    Large pinnipeds, such as elephant seals and walruses, would be extremely expensive to feed
     
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  7. Gomphothere

    Gomphothere Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Do a google search: "What does it cost to feed zoo animals?" And you'll get a whole bunch of interesting articles. The annual food budget for the Toronto Zoo is $1 million. A grizzly bear will eat 60 lbs. of grapes at a sitting. And sea otters eat as much a polar bears, making them one of the most expensive to feed for their size ($40,000 per year for a pair).
     
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  8. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Basically megafauna such as elephants, giant pandas and gorillas come to mind.

    Historically the upkeep of Sumatran rhinos in zoos outside of the range country was apparently very expensive too.
     
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  9. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    Sea otters were always mentioned as the most expensive at the Rotterdam Zoo while they were there.

    Elephants are usually considered relatively cheap because what they eat is cheap compared to most other food items.
     
  10. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    What elephants eat is cheap but the bulk in which they need this food (from between 100 and 400 pounds of it per day) in order to have adequate nutrition is very costly.

    I remember reading a while back somewhere about the annual cost of feeding a single elephant in captivity (sorry, I can't remember the exact details nor the paper I read it in).

    Needless to say it was a huge sum but when the costs of veterinary care and other necessary husbandry was added the total amount of money spent annually per elephant was astronomical.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2021
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  11. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Platypuses, with their worm and crayfish diets.

    Pandas and koalas vary I would suggest, depending on whether the zoo can grow bamboo and eucalyptus. San Diego can grow both in quantity, thus cutting down cost significantly. Zoos in colder areas have to ship it in, hence much more expensive.
     
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  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I imagine these necessarily have to be species of crayfish and worms native to Australia ?
     
  13. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I don't believe so necessarily, but maybe one of our Aussie members knows more on the subject?
     
  14. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member 10+ year member Premium Member

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    Platypus are usually fed yabbies, Cherax destructor which are readily avilable especially as cheap feeder food in the pet trade. A keeper once told me she feeds one platypus 400 grams of yabbies, 600 grams of earthworms supplemented with fly pupae and mealworms daily.
     
  15. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that @WhistlingKite24 ! Very interesting !

    So I guess the San Diego zoo are also feeding their platypus in this way ?
     
  16. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Cherax destructor is illegal in the US as of 2016, but they're still around. They average 10-26 USD apiece depending on size so not cheap necessarily.

    I believe they are indeed using yabbies, though I'm not sure how they're acquiring them.
     
  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    They could be breeding them on site behind the scenes for this purpose but I'm not 100 % sure.
     
  18. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member 10+ year member Premium Member

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    Interesting - a lot of places hold/breed their yabbies on site as well as mentioned above. Some of the other dietary options for platypus, according to a husbandry manual, include:

    yabbies, earthworms, mealworms, fly pupae, freshwater shrimp, prawns, goldfish (feeder fish seem to be a popular option as well), tubifex worms, trout fingerlings, aquatic insects, crickets, tadpoles, cockroaches, egg custard mix, pelleted foods, blackworms.

    http://www.australasianzookeeping.org/Husbandry Manuals/Platypus Husbandry Manual s.pdf
     
  19. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    Walrus and seals could come near the top, because fish and molluscs are expensive and they eat a lot of them.
     
  20. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I think pangolins are / were expensive to maintain with their very specific insect based diet that was / is difficult to source.