Our Projects

Andy Beer

Nutritionist for RZSS

Role

As nutritionist for the RZSS Andy is responsible for overseeing the design and modification of diets within the animal collections at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park in consultation withe respective Collection Managers and other colleagues.

Additionally, RZSS has a Nutritional Focus group which meets regularly to review dietary aspects in the husbandry and management of the groups of species held in the animal collections and also to assess diets fed to animals joining the collection.

RZSS also operates a nutrition evaluation service to analyse the composition of forages for other zoos and animal collections in the UK and Ireland using Near Infra Red Spectrometry (NIRS) in the lab at Edinburgh Zoo.

Research interests

These centre around diets for herbivores (grazing and browsing ruminants and non-ruminants). Specifically, a major interest is developing the potential of preservation techniques to facilitate the feeding of browse during the winter.
Additionally, reviews of nutritional composition of eucalyptus for koalas has been carried out and will be developed to look at olfactory cues within eucalypt leaves which trigger selection and consumption.

Collaboration with other nutrition research partners in Scotland has been developed as part of the Giant Panda project.

A current major focus is on the analysis of bamboo (the major dietry constituent of the pandas) evaluating how composition may affect intake during different seasons of the year. This collaboration also involves the China Research Centre for protecting Giant Pandas (CRCPGP).

Background

Andy joined RZSS in September 2009 to co-ordinate the nutritional aspects of the collections. Before this, he had been employed since 1982 at Sparsholt College Hampshire where responsibilities included teaching the theory of nutrition and analysis of feedstuffs to HE Animal Management students. This also included delivering nutritional workshops to keepers in a number of zoos and safari parks as a means of developing understanding in the appropriate feeding of different species within animal collections.

Other positions

  • Senior practitioner at Sparsholt College Hampshire.
  • Course Director for the Diploma in the Management of Zoos and Aquariums for the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).
  • Nutritional Advisor to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Hippo and Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG).