13-year-old tiger with valuable bloodline undergoes reproductive evaluation
MIAMI, Fla. – A 13-year-old Sumatran tiger underwent a reproductive evaluation Friday morning.
Berani the tiger is the father of a 6-month-old cub named N’dari and also successfully sired an offspring in 2015, according to Zoo Miami. Previous fertility exams showed a very low sperm count and many of his previous attempts to sire an offspring have been unsuccessful.
The tiger was immobilized for the examination so zoo officials could determine what the present status of his fertility is. Officials said reproductive specialists from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska and the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, partnered with Zoo Miami’s Health team to collect sperm from Berani via electro-ejaculation so that it could be evaluated.
Though Berani is producing viable sperm, the density in collected samples was low and highly diluted which could be the reason that many of he’s been unsuccessful in breeding. Zoo Miami said the team is now waiting for blood test results to determine his testosterone levels.
Despite having a low sperm count, the health team was successful in collecting eight straws of semen that were frozen, helping to preserve Berani’s genetic material for use in future artificial insemination. Zoo officials said the team also did a general health exam that included a dental cleaning, blood and urine collection, and a rabies vaccination.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered and there are believed to be less than 500 left in the wild where they are found in forested areas on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Officials said the tigers’ biggest threats are habitat loss to palm oil plantations and poaching.
They are the smallest subspecies of tigers with males reaching up to 300 pounds and females closer to 200 pounds, according to the zoo. Berani represents a very valuable bloodline in the population that is under human care which is why every effort is being made to maintain his ability to contribute to that population.
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