Manual Collection and Characterization of Semen from Asian Elephants
The implications of collecting semen from elephants for use in artificial insemination programs are profound in the context of propagating captive elephants. Using a manual manipulation technique, semen was collected and characterized from five adult Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and ejaculate fluid was obtained from one castrated elephant bull. The penis was stimulated to protrusion and erection by rectal massage of the pelvic portion of the urethra. During an ejaculatory response, massage was also directed onto the area of the ampulla of the ductus deferens. Sperm rich ejaculates were usually collected as a result of each ejaculatory contraction. Ejaculates were evaluated for spermatozoal concentration and pH (when possible) and sperm rich fractions combined for determination of total volume. Mean total volume of each collection was 27.5±4.4 ml. Mean concentration of the first and second ejaculatory responses from a collection was 2.05±0.17×109 and 1.34±0.19×109 sperm/ml, respectively. Measurement of seminal pH revealed no significant differences between the fractions. Mean pH of the first and second ejaculatory responses were 7.05±0.07 and 7.04±0.13. This method of collecting elephant sperm can be utilized for semen evaluation of bulls of unknown reproductive status in conjunction with other evaluation techniques (i.e. ultrasonographic, endocrinologic). It also has the potential for providing valuable genetic material for genome resource banks and for use with assisted reproductive techniques like artificial insemination.
semen, elephant, reproduction, insemination
Schmitt, D. L., and T. B. Hildebrandt. "Manual collection and characterization of semen from Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)." Animal Reproduction Science 53, no. 1-4 (1998): 309-314.
Animal Reproduction Science