Zoo Elephant Conceived With Wild Male’s Frozen Sperm

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“Mmmm…not certain about this, sometimes it’s not wise to mess with nature, but I suppose if it keeps species alive!!  I’m a bit on the fence with this…would prefer it was used to populate elephants in a protected wild environment. Or in a well run sanctuary…not happy about more elephants being kept in zoo’s; they just don’t have the resources nor the room to keep elephants happy & thriving!”

An embryonic African elephant has been photographed in the womb – the result of pioneering artificial insemination by an Austrian zoo.

Schoenbrunn Zoo‘s director Dagmar Schratter unveiled the elephant image

The Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna says it is the first successful use of frozen sperm from a wild African bull elephant to impregnate a female in captivity.

An ultrasound image from Operation Frozen Dumbo shows the foetus with developing trunk and legs.

The mother is nine months into her pregnancy, expected to last 22 months.

Taken in April, the image has only now been revealed. The infant’s sex is not yet known.

Tonga, 26, has given birth once before.

The sperm used to impregnate her came from a wild bull elephant in South Africa, which was drugged so that an ejaculation could be induced. An instrument called an electro-ejaculator was used to collect the semen.

Artificial insemination using sperm that is frozen and then thawed has worked in other mammals, including endangered rhinos. But the method has proven particularly tricky with elephants.

Frozen in stages

The zoo is involved in a joint project with Germany‘s Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, the Beauval Zoo in France and Pittsburgh Zoo in the US.

In a statement on its website, Schoenbrunn Zoo says the aim is to expand the gene pool of African elephants in captivity, to help ensure their survival.

There are reckoned to be about 2,000 African and Indian elephants in zoos worldwide and another 15,000 Indian elephants kept privately – mostly in logging companies and temples.

Schoenbrunn Zoo says 40 elephants have been born from artificial insemination in European zoos since 1998, but the use of frozen sperm from a wild bull is innovative. Two previous attempts with frozen sperm were unsuccessful.

Freezing the sperm enables the team to pick the optimum time to fertilise the female and works out much cheaper, the zoo says.

The Leibniz Institute researcher who developed the freezing technique, Thomas Hildebrandt, said the trick was to freeze the sperm in stages, as mammalian cells are very sensitive to temperature changes.

News Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19260522

Ritchie Co. Humane Society Takes In 30 Abused Dogs From Road Side

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The Ritchie County Humane Society looks for donations after taking in 30 dogs left to die on the side of the road. Jon Six Hair Company in Vienna is also taking in donations to help these dogs recover.

The thirty dogs left to die on the side of the road are now wagging their tails.

While the Ritchie County Humane Society President, Kitty Ray, says they have a long road to recovery, she’s happy to see them progressing.

“They were in such horrible condition that it’s going to take awhile for them to even start to looking better enough that you can tell,” says Ray. “They’re more comfortable now, they’ve all had their toenails trimmed and they’re on antibiotics they’re having treatment for the mange that has made them lose their hair.”

The shelter did lose one dog Wednesday morning but Ray says they are doing everything they can to prevent that from happening to the other dogs.

Ray says the support and donations has been overwhelming but the next few months are going to be tough, adding these 30 dogs to their already long list.

Jon Six Hair Company in Vienna is now taking in donations to help the cause, he says it’s a cause close to his heart.

“I have over 1500 friends on facebook and I would say about 1400 are dog lovers, so it’s you know, plus I’d say the majority of the customers that come into the salon on dog lovers so people have just been very supportive,” says Six.

The shelter says any little bit can help.

“The supplies we certainly could use because we’re always short on supplies but the money will go toward medical bills and having the animals spayed and neutered before they’re adopted,” explains Ray.


Ritchie Co. Humane Society
Rt. 1 Box 3, Harrisville WV
Or call (304) 643-4721

Jon Six Hair Company
1509 Grand Central Ave (Across from Fusion and Lowe’s, same plaza as Paradise Grill and Coldstone Creamery)
Bring any donations by during work hours, 10-7.

Video & News Link:http://www.wtap.com/news/headlines/Ritchie_Co_Humane_Society_Takes_In_30_Abused_Dogs_157077405.html

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