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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO ANTIBIOTICS FOR CONTROLLING BACTERIAL RESPIRATORY PATHOGENS IN POULTRY

Location: Poultry Production and Products Safety Research

Title: Implementing artificial insemination as an effective tool for ex situ conservation of endangered avian species

Authors
item Blanco, Juan - CERI, TOLEDO SPAIN
item Wildt, David - SMITHSONIAN
item Hoefle, Ursula - CERI, TOLDEDO SPAIN
item Voelker, William - COMANCHE NATION
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Theriogenology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 12, 2008
Publication Date: January 1, 2009
Citation: Blanco, J.M., Wildt, D.E., Hoefle, U., Voelker, W., Donoghue, A.M. 2009. Implementing artificial insemination as an effective tool for ex situ conservation of endangered avian species. Theriogenology. 71:200-213.

Interpretive Summary: Approximately 503 of the known species of birds are classified as ‘endangered’ or ‘critical’. Captive propagation programs have proven useful in maintaining genetic diversity and restoring wild populations of certain species, including the Peregrine falcon, California condor and Whooping crane. Artificial insemination (AI) has the potential of solving problems inherent to reproductive management of small, closed populations of endangered birds, including dealing with demographic instability, physical and behavioral disabilities, sexual incompatibility, lack of synchrony and need to maintain gene diversity. In this review, we address the various methods and necessary factors that allow AI to be applied effectively to managing rare bird populations. It is clear that seminal availability and quality are the greatest limiting factors to implementing consistently successful AI into management programs. Behavioral sensitivity to animal handling and the ability to minimize stress in individual birds also are keys to success. Additionally, data have revealed that deep vaginal (multiple) inseminations can improve fertility, particularly when seminal quality is marginal. Laparoscopic methods also have produced fertile eggs. All of these practices leading to successful AI remain dependent on having adequate basic knowledge on female cyclicity, copulatory behavior, endocrine profiles and duration of fertility, especially as related to ovoposition. The overall greatest challenge and highest priority is defining these normative traits, which are highly species-specific.

Technical Abstract: Captive propagation programs have proven useful in maintaining genetic diversity and restoring wild populations of certain species, including the Peregrine falcon, California condor and Whooping crane. Artificial insemination (AI) has the potential of solving problems inherent to reproductive management of small, closed populations of endangered birds, including dealing with demographic instability, physical and behavioral disabilities, sexual incompatibility, lack of synchrony and need to maintain gene diversity. In this review, we address the various methods and necessary factors that allow AI to be applied effectively to managing rare bird populations. It is clear that seminal availability and quality are the greatest limiting factors to implementing consistently successful AI into management programs. Behavioral sensitivity to animal handling and the ability to minimize stress in individual birds also are keys to success. Additionally, data have revealed that deep vaginal (multiple) inseminations can improve fertility, particularly when seminal quality is marginal. Laparoscopic methods also have produced fertile eggs. All of these practices leading to successful AI remain dependent on having adequate basic knowledge on female cyclicity, copulatory behavior, endocrine profiles and duration of fertility, especially as related to ovoposition. The overall greatest challenge and highest priority is defining these normative traits, which are highly species-specific.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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