Tuesday, 26 March 2013

For the First Time Iberian Lynx Embryos Are Collected and Preserved


Mar. 22, 2013 — A pioneering procedure in felines allows the collection of biological material from Iberian lynx females before castration. The preserved biological material of the lynxes will be used in future conservation breeding programmes.

In February two Iberian lynx females who belong to the Iberian lynx Conservation Breeding Program (ILCBPS) were castrated in order to guarantee a better quality of life and prevent possible health problems.

Scientist from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research IZW, Berlin, Germany, went to the breeding centers in Spain and Portugal to obtain embryos by flushing the oviducts and freeze ovarian tissue immediately after surgery. The obtained embryos and ovarian pieces are stored in liquid nitrogen. Now they are kept at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales de Madrid (CSIC) for further usage in the breeding programme.

The specialists of the IZW performed a pioneering procedure to obtain and freeze embryos in a wildlife species. Based on their experience in the domestic cat, they developed a method for cryopreserving oocytes and embryos of wild cat species. "Seven days after mating we expected to flush embryos from the uterus. In both cases, however, oocytes and embryos were still within the oviducts. Thus, the embryo development in lynxes is slower than in domestic cats," says Prof Katarina Jewgenow from the IZW specialist team.

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