Semen Collection in Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) via Urethral Catheterization
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2015
Anneke Moresco1, DVM, PhD; R. Scott Larsen1, DVM, DACZM; Diana Boon1, DVM; Justine K. O’ Brien2, PhD; Monica A. Stoops3, MSc, PhD
1Denver Zoo, Denver, CO, USA; 2SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center, San Diego, CA, USA; 3Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati, OH, USA


Conservation in rhinoceros is becoming increasingly dependent on assisted reproductive techniques.1,2,4,5 Assisted reproductive techniques including hormone monitoring, semen cryopreservation and artificial insemination,1,2,5 have decreased the health risks associated with transport and introduction of animals, and in other taxa, have made it possible for animals to reproduce posthumously. Electroejaculation is one method of semen collection which can provide samples for both evaluation of reproductive potential and use in assisted reproduction. Logistics of electroejaculation are considerable, partly because of the specialized equipment and personnel needed. In contrast, urethral catheterization requires less specialized equipment, can be performed opportunistically, yet provides a sufficient sample to evaluate concentration, motility, viability and morphology.3 It is also possible to freeze a sample of semen obtained with this technique, albeit the sample is significantly smaller than with electroejaculation. Samples were successfully obtained from a black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) repeatedly anesthetized with an etorphine-ketamine-azaperone combination. A sterile 5Fr bullet tip catheter (Adept Vet LLC, MI, USA), with a small amount of non-spermicidal gel applied to the tip, was passed retrograde through the urethra to the prostate (∼100–110 cm), as confirmed by rectal ultrasound. Once in the area of the prostatic urethra, 1 ml of negative pressure was applied, then the catheter was rotated without negative pressure, and slight negative pressure was then re-applied. The catheter was removed without negative pressure. The semen sample was placed in a conical vial, evaluated and cryopreserved as described.4 Except for volume and concentration, semen characteristics were comparable to those obtained via electroejaculation.


The authors thank the Animal Care and Veterinary Hospital staff at the Denver Zoo.

Literature Cited

1.  Hermes R, Goritz F, Saragusty J, Sós E, Molnar V, Reid CE, Schwarzenberger F, Hildebrandt TB. First successful artificial insemination with frozen-thawed semen in rhinoceros. Theriogenology. 2009;71:393–399.

2.  Hildebrandt TB, Hermes R, Walzer C, Sós E, Molnar V, Mezösi L, Schnorrenberg A, Silinski S, Streich J, Schwarzenberger F, Goritz F. Artificial insemination in the anoestrus and the postpartum white rhinoceros using GnRH analogue to induce ovulation. Theriogenology. 2007;67:1473–1484.

3.  Lueders I, Luther I, Scheepers G, van der Horst G. Improved semen collection method for wild felids: urethra catheterization yields high sperm quality in African lions (Panthera leo). Theriogenology. 2012;78:696–701.

4.  O'Brien JK, Roth TL. Post-coital sperm recovery and cryopreservation in the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) and application to gamete rescue in the African black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). J Reprod Fertil. 2000;118:263–271.

5.  Stoops MA, DeChant CJ, Pairan RD, Campbell MK, Blumer ES, Bateman HL, Bond JB, Herrick JR, Roth TL. Development of techniques for successful artificial insemination in the Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). Proc Am Assoc Zoo Vet; 2007. p. 183.


Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

Anneke Moresco, DVM, PhD
Denver Zoo
Denver, CO, USA

MAIN : Posters : Semen Collection in Black Rhinoceros
Powered By VIN