How Reproductive Research and Breeding Management can help Endangered Species
How Reproductive Research and Breeding Management can help Endangered Species 

                                             The "SAVE THE GONADS" initative

If a genetically valuable animal of an endangered species dies, we may preserve its gametes. 

The following document demonstrates how the ovaries or testicles of deceased animals are prepared for shipment, allowing for future harvesting of oocytes and spermatozoa.

GONAD RESCUE PROTOCOL.pdf
PDF-Dokument [670.1 KB]

     From State-of-the-Art Technology to unique and                                customized Equipment

Some tools to assess fertility are high-tech, such as a laptop sized, battery driven ultrasound machines, other pieces are commercially not available and thus customized, adapted to the requirements of each particular species.... 

Ultrasonography

Ultrasound can be applied to check the reproductive organs, look for follicles ready to ovulate or to detect a pregnancy.

Photo: Giraffe fetus @ 60 days of gestation.

 

 

Endoscopy

Portable, battery driven video endoscopy allows for application in the field. Flexible or rigid endoscopes are used to explore the reproductive organs or for endoscopical artificial insemination.

 

 

Semen Analysis

Spermatozoa may be obtained by means of different techniques and are an integral part of the fertility assessment of any male animal.

Photo: Stained spermatozoa of an African elephant bull.

 

 

Electro Ejaculation

Electrodes are placed rectally once an animal is fully anesthetized in order to create low electric stimuli which induce ejaculation. Probes need to be adjusted according to each species requirements.

 

 

Media & Extender

Semen samples of valuable animals may be shipped refrigerated to a female recipient for artificial insemination, or prepared for cryopreservation (deep freezing). Semen is therefore diluted in special media (semen extender). The protocols and formulas for these media have to be developed according to the species needs.

 

 

Liquid Nitrogen

Cryopreservation involves the deep freezing of sperm, tissue, oocytes or embryos at -196°C (-320.8°F) in liquid nitrogen (LN2). In a specilaized storage tank (dewar), specimen can be secured for decades, if not centuries.

 

 

Microscopy

The microscope is an indispnesable instrument for the assessment of sperm, oocytes or embryos.

 

 

Gynaecological instruments

Many instruments of varying size and purpose have been custom designed to enable assisted reproduction procedures. However, these instruments are ususally adapted to domestic animal species, making modifications for wild animals essential.

 

 

 

Field laboratory

Logically, zoo and wild animals are not able to visit the veterinary practice. Necessity dictates that they be attended to in the field or in their zoo enclosure. Consequently, it is crucial that the equipment is fully mobile and functional in remote settings.

 

 

Hormone Analysis

Reproduction related hormones such as progesterone or estrogen can be measured in the  blood or non-invasively in urine, feces or saliva. Endocrine assays help to identify ovarian activity, may diagnose a pregnancy or assess the reproductive states of both genders.

 

 

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