Action: Wash contaminated semen and use it for artificial insemination
A single replicated controlled study in Spain found that semen contaminated with urine could be successfully washed to increase its pH and produced three raptor nestlings.
Collecting semen can be difficult and expensive, and if it is contaminated it is likely to be cheaper to wash it, than to collect more.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated controlled study from February-April in a captive breeding programme in Spain (Blanco et al. 2002) found that urine-contaminated sperm can be used to artificially inseminate raptor females after washing the sperm with an alkalinised diluent. Urine contamination of ejaculate samples was high in all 4 species (25 individuals) analysed (37% for golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, 43% for Spanish imperial eagle Aquila adalberti, 29% for Bonelli’s eagle A. fasciatus (also Hieraaetus fasciatus) and 48% for peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus) and significantly reduced semen pH (6.5-6.9 compared to 7.2-7.6). However, sperm motility was significantly higher in sperm washed with an alkalinised diluent (compared to a neutral diluent). An intramagnal insemination technique of washed semen produced 1 golden eagle and 2 peregrine falcon nestlings (11 and 16% of clutch size respectively). Each sperm sample was divided into two equal amounts and washed with either neutral (pH 7.0) or alkalinised (pH 8.0) diluent (Lake’s formula with 300 mg / 100 ml of citric acid added) before being incubated for 30 min (21°C).