Researchers in Brazil Are Artificially Inseminated Jaguars to Diversify Gene Pool

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Artificial insemination — in jaguars? Wildlife experts in Sao Paulo, Brazil, have successfully done just that to two jaguars.

A group of wildlife experts from the Cincinnati Zoo and Brazilian researchers have worked for several years to develop the insemination program to help with the genetic diversity of the jaguar population.

The program has proven to be highly successful in rescuing large numbers of big jungle cats struggling to survive in habitats increasingly threatened by fires and deforestation.

“We know jaguars have very isolated populations. The numbers vary maybe 40 to 50 thousand in the wild, but their populations are isolated. They can’t move freely, so we end up with these small populations,” Dr. Lindsey Vansandt, a specialist veterinarian from the Cincinnati Zoo, said.

“So, if we can take sperm from one male and inseminate in a female from another location, we can keep that gene flow moving and keep the population healthier.”

One of the jaguars inseminated, named Bianca, has already had a cub with this procedure in 2018, and she recently underwent the process again.

Researchers hope they will be successful in adding yet another cub to the big cat gene pool.