Published on March 19th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
Romancing The Elephant Seeking To Get Donations For Elephant Sperm Bank
There are tough jobs and there are dirty jobs out there in the wild world of employment but somehow I just don’t see myself every applying for this kind of job.
It seems that there is an emerging problem being faced by zoos around the world – elephants in captivity are becoming too inbred so one intrepid German researcher has been working on building up a sperm bank of wild elephant sperm for the zoos to use in their breeding programs.
To accomplish this Thomas Hildebrandt of Berlin’s Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) heads off to the wilds of South Africa searching for wild bull elephants. Once spotted the lucky dude elephant is shot with a narcotic dart to stun him.
Once the bull is sedated enough Hildebrandt commences a five-minute procedure known as ‘electro-ejaculation’. Thnis is apparently a well known procedure used for paraplegic men but not so well known by elephants.
Once this is achieved and the sperm is safely collected, it is immediately frozen, and later thawed out and tested for various elephant diseases. This is all part of Project Frozen Dumbo, a project started two years ago to collect sperm for banks stored at the Beauval Zoo near St. Aignan in central France, and the International Conservation Centre in Pittsburgh Zoo in the US. There’s only one snag – no elephant has yet been successfully inseminated with sperm that has previously been frozen. “But we’re close to it, we’re very, very optimistic,” said Hildebrandt.
Jeez, all that hard work and nothing to show for it.