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Infectious and parasitic diseases in zoo animals affect their welfare, reproduction and

longevity and pose health threat to researchers, visitors and staff of zoological garden. The

aim of this study was to assess biosecurity and determine occurrence of Salmonellae, ecto-

and gastro-intestinal parasites (GIP) in Kano zoological garden, Nigeria (KZG). A total of

388 samples were collected from 161 wild animals by non-random sampling method. The

distribution of the samples was: one hundred and eleven cloacal swabs from wild birds; one

hundred and seventy faecal samples from carnivores (28), herbivores (62), non-human

primates (35) and wild birds (45); one hundred and seven ectoparasite (EP) samples from

herbivores (2), carnivores (53), non-human primates (27) and wild birds (25). Conventional

biochemical tests were used to identify Salmonella species after which suspected/confirmed

isolates were subjected to antimicrobial sensitivity test using a panel of 12 antimicrobial

agents. Simple flotation technique and microscopic examination methods were used to

identify gastro-intestinal parasite eggs/oocysts and ecto-parasites respectively. Of the total

faecal and rectal swab samples (196) examined for Salmonella, seven isolates (3.57%) were

confirmed; two were from lions (Panthera leo), one each from bush buck (Tragalophus

scriptus), Cape eland (Tragalophus oryx), Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiacus), parrot

(Psittacus erithacus) and crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) respectively. The occurrence of

Salmonella was 7.14% in carnivores, 5.76% in herbivores and 2.7% in wild birds while the

overall occurrence in KZG was 4.8%. All the Salmonella isolates (100%) showed multidrug-

resistance (MDR) pattern with resistance profile of 3-4. However, none of the isolates

showed mild, extensive or pan drug resistance. Eggs and oocysts were identified from 85

faecal samples: Ascaris from tortoise; Enterobius from chimpanzee; Strongyle from tantalus,

red patas and tortoise; Taenia from lion; Toxocara from lion, Nubian vulture and mangoose;


Trichurid from baboon, buffalo, porcupine, red patas and tantalus; Coccidia from peacock

and red patas; and Isospora from lion and mangoose. The occurrence of GIP egg was highest

among non-human primates (37%) and lowest among wild birds (13.5%). Among

herbivores, the occurrence was 26.9% while in carnivores was 14.28%. The gastro-intestinal

parasite richness count (GIPRC) among carnivores, herbivores, non-human primates and

wild birds was 5/3, 5/3, 7/4 and 4/2 respectively. The overall occurrence of GIP eggs and

oocysts in KZG was 63% and GIPRC was 21/8. Bug (Cimex lectularius) was identified from

baboon and red patas; and Rhipicephalus sanguineus tick from buffalo and common jackal.

The occurrence of EP and ecto-parasite richness count (EPRC) among buffalos, common

jackal, baboon, red patas and spotted eagle owl were 100% and 2/3; 33% and 2/3; 25% and

1/3; 16% and 2/3; 20% and 1/3 respectively. Of the nine components of zoo biosecurity

assessed in KZG, quarantine practices had highest biosecurity risk (100%) and risk level

(2.6) while work and hygiene practices for staff and visitors poses lowest biosecurity risk of

58.3% and risk level of 2.0. Audit and validation of biosecurity practices in property

management and wildlife sections revealed breaches in traffic control, isolation and

sanitation in many sections (70%) of KZG.


1.1 Background to the Study

Infectious disease within zoo collection impacts on individual health and welfare, and can have long

term impacts on reproduction, longevity, behaviours, population and species viability (Reiss and

Woods, 2011). Subclinical and chronic diseases can exert their effects for years and even decades.

Sickness, death and reproductive failure in collection animals leads to greater costs (husbandry,

veterinary care, acquisition), and reduces the financial viability of the zoo as a business. Infectious

diseases like salmonellosis that may spread to humans or domestic animals can have serious social,

economic and ethical costs (Reiss and Woods, 2011).

Salmonellosis is caused by Salmonella species and characterized clinically by one or more of three

major syndromes: septicaemia, acute and chronic enteritis (Kahn and Line, 2005). The portal of

infection in Salmonellosis is almost always the mouth, so that the severity of the disease in an

individual or of an outbreak in a group depends on the degree of contamination and environmental

conditions; temperature and dryness, which determine the survival time of Salmonellae (Radostits,

1997). The response to infection with Salmonella varies depending on the size of the challenging

dose and the immunological status of the animal (Radostits, 1997).

Parasitism is an important environmental component of the life cycle of most organisms including

birds and wildlife (Loye and Zuke, 1991). While ecto-parasites live on the surface of the host‟s

body, endo-parasites are found within the body of the host (Narula, 2013). Helminth parasites like

Trichuris and Strongyle are significant pathogens of wildlife and responsible for unthriftness,

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