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For decades, captive gliders have been fed the same mixture of honey and rice cereal in zoos and wildlife parks around the world, but that’s now changing. Why? Because honey mixed with rice cereal isn’t doing any wonders for their health. In fact, according to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, the high-sugar diet of gliders in captivity could be responsible for disease. In the article, Taronga Zoo nutritionist Michelle Shaw says:

“There are a lot of issues with obesity with gliders in managed populations. Part of that is that there is something in the nutrient composition of their diet that isn’t exactly what they would be getting in the wild.” Here are some key points from the article:

  • Experts believe the obesity in captive populations of gliders might be caused by two things: too much sugar, and not enough fibre, which wild gliders get when they unwittingly ingest by chewing through tree fibres in their quest to slurp nectar.
  • Squirrel gliders are among 350 species on display at the zoo whose diets are undergoing a revamp in order to ensure their health and longevity.
  • The zoo has been changing the diet of their chimps to cut back on high-sugar food such as fruit and replacing them with homemade bars and biscuits to increase fibre intake.
  • Two years into the diet overhaul, the benefits are starting to show throughout the zoo’s animal population with improvements to dental health and weight.

Check out the full article here.