Thesis Title

Comparison Of Membrane Stabilizers During Cryopreservation Of African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana) Semen


Misti Fry

Date of Graduation

Fall 2002


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Dennis Schmitt

Subject Categories



African elephants in captivity will not be able to sustain their numbers without an increase in birth rate. A challenge that often faces institutions trying to impregnate elephants is the location of the male. Assisted reproductive techniques, such as artificial insemination, have proven to be a viable way around the obstacle of moving elephants to other facilities. At this time institutions are limited to using freshed cooled semen that is collected and shipped on a strict timetable. Techniques for freezing elephant semen would introduce convenience, cost reduction, and higher genetic diversity into the process of artificial insemination. This research project involved the cooperation of three elephant facilities that have reliably shipped cooled semen for artificial insemination. Semen samples of adequate quality were received, divided into aliquots, and frozen with combinations of Equex® STM paste, cholesterol, and α-tocopherol. These compounds have shown benefits to other species as antioxidants and sperm membrane stabilizers. Our objectives in this study were to validate protocols to ship fresh extended semen to a central laboratory for freezing and to develop elephant semen freezing protocols that would result in greater then 50% progressively motile sperm post thaw. Results have been promising. The process of extending the semen at the bull's facility then shipping it overnight to a centralized lab has been shown to work well. On arrival the semen was evaluated by a trained technician and frozen by experienced personnel. There were differences between treatment groups and the control when the semen was evaluated post-thaw. Results indicate initial extension with cholesterol loaded cyclodextrins increased sperm survival over the control.


© Misti Fry