Use artificial insemination
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
During programmes to rear endangered animals in captivity, in preparation for reintroductions into the wild, artificial insemination may be used to initiate pregnancies. The technique may be used instead of natural mating in situations where animals are being kept at different facilities; to increase pregnancy rates; or where natural mating has failed. It may also be carried out using preserved sperm for purposes of maintaining genetic diversity.
Studies included here are those identified by our searches of conservation journals. It is likely that other relevant studies exist in biological journals that specialize in reproduction.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated study in 2008–2009 in outdoor enclosures in Dunedin, New Zealand (Molinia et al. 2010) reported that artificially inseminated female McCann’s skinks Oligosoma maccanni did not give birth, although approximately half were gravid nine months after insemination. None of 10 artificially inseminated female McCann’s skinks gave birth in the year after insemination took place. Two months after insemination, eight of 10 artificially inseminated females were confirmed as ovulating and the authors reported that nine months after insemination approximately five of 10 of the females appeared to be gravid. Ten female McCann’s skinks kept in captivity were inseminated in March 2008 using sperm pooled from six males collected over two days (each female received at least 1 x 106 motile sperm, see original paper for details). Females were checked for ovulation by palpating the abdominal cavity.Study and other actions tested