Nutrition Workshop

            Nutrition is routinely used as a treatment for diseases such as deficiencies; however there is little consideration for including nutrition in a preventative health plan. The usage of nutritional sciences in wildlife medicine has more often than not been reactive rather than proactive. Nutrition affects every aspect of an animal’s life (health, behaviour, reproduction, etc.). Appropriate concentrations of nutrients may therefore lead to many other benefits in an animal’s life, not only prevent and mediate health issues. Specific diseases which can be directly prevented via nutrition includes but is not limited to: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, dental disease, kidney and liver diseases, wasting, skin and pelage issues, bone issues, a slew of gastro-intestinal diseases, ocular diseases and even intestinal parasites. A diet is never “finished” as animals grow up, reproduce, maintain and get old. Every stage of an animal’s life requires alterations to their diets, therefore the targets are always moving. Mediating through the geriatric stage of life through nutritional alterations is particularly effective.

            The nutrient requirements of most exotic animals are largely unknown, forcing us to rely on the physiological models of domestic animals which may not be totally appropriate. In this workshop, you will learn how to best approximate nutrient targets for exotic species, how to calculate the nutrients in their diet, and lastly, to prepare a preventative nutrition health plan for various species throughout their life cycle.

Purpose of the Workshop

            The aim of this workshop is to provide information on how to best determine nutrient targets for species without known requirements and ensure participants are able to calculate nutrient contents of diets, and lastly how create a preventative nutrition plan for a number of species. 


Francis Cabana, Ph.D.
Wildlife Nutritionist
Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Singapore

Currently the wildlife nutritionist of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park), he is responsible for the daily diets of more than 10, 000 animals. He was educated at Oxford Brookes University (UK), Plymouth University (UK) and McGill University (Canada). His research on the feeding ecology and nutrition of non-human primates has allowed to prevent numerous health and behavioural ailments in zoos and rescue centres alike. He is the chair of the SEAZA Nutrition Network which focuses on training and supporting hopeful nutritionists across Asian zoos. His current and future research focuses on using microbiome to assess the nutritional status of animals.