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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Carnivores: Supplement meat-based diet with amino acids Management of Captive Animals

Key messages

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  • One replicated, before-and-after study in the USA found that supplementing an animal-protein diet with taurine, increased plasma taurine levels in maned wolves.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, before-and-after study in 2001 of maned wolves Chrysocyon brachyurus in a research centre in the USA, found that supplementing a protein-based diet with taurine increased the average plasma taurine levels. When fed a supplemented animal-based protein diet, average plasma taurine was higher (91.18 nmol/ml), and within target domestic canine reference ranges, compared to no supplement (animal-based protein: 18.79 nmol/ml; plant-based mean: 4.03 nmol/ml). Four wolves were maintained on the commercial diet (animal-based protein) and two were maintained on an experimental diet (plant-based protein). Four weeks prior and at the end of the trial, animals were restrained and sedated to collect a 12 ml blood sample. Due to clinical signs including weight loss and decreased appetite, the diet trial was terminated early and taurine supplementation (0.3% concentration) was deemed necessary. Taurine concentrations were monitored over a four-month period.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Jonas, C.S., Timbrell, L.L., Young, F., Petrovan, S.O., Bowkett, A.E. & Smith, R.K. (2019) Management of Captive Animals. Pages 539-567 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.