It’s super important to check the health of all zoo animals and one non-invasive way is to analyse their poo.
Stress hormones, reproductive hormones, and evidence of parasites can all be found in faeces. But if you have a group of the same species in one area, then who’s poo belongs to which animal? It’s not feasible to sit and watch each animal until they drop something on the ground.
So one popular method around zoos is to add different coloured non-toxic and biodegradable glitter which is vet approved, to their food. Another method is adding dye or corn which also makes the poo identifiable.
Information from tests on the glittery poo can tell the keepers whether the lion is sick or stressed, whether hormone levels are normal and they have healthy digestion.
It’s a gentle and simple way to give the lion a check up.
The animals can’t taste it so they don’t know. Shhhh don’t tell them!