Sparkling samples

When big cat keepers needed to distinguish the faeces of our Sumatran tigers, Daseep and Joao, they turned to edible glitter to help!

Staff are feeding nine year-old Daseep chunks of meat sprinkled with the colourful cake decoration so they can spot sparkles in her samples.

Acting Team Leader, Sam Grove, said: “We’re feeding Daseep the glittery meat chunks separately so we know only she’s digested it.

“Faeces can tell us a lot about the health of the animal as we look at the consistency and patterns, but it’s also a very useful tool for us to track her hormone levels too.

“Once we’ve collected her sample every few days we send it away to a veterinary laboratory, who check and record her levels.

“It’s great for us to get a baseline so we can track any peaks and falls during her monthly cycle to determine if she’s in heat and ready to mate.

“It’s a simple, safe and stress-free way to monitor the health of our animals and she’s none the wiser!”