However, in countries where it is not banned, electroejaculation is used provided that all available safety measures have been taken and provided that the animal requires other treatments that require anaesthesia Figs 1 and 2.
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Currently a method devised by Zambelli et al. Medetomidine causes constriction of ejaculatory ducts and forces semen into the urethra, so that after placing a catheter into the urethra it is possible to draw a semen sample. In comparison with electroejaculation this method is far more humanitarian and safer for animals. Moreover, it can be used concurrently with other veterinary treatments.
The research conducted by our team on the domestic cat so far indicates that this method is highly efficient and allows good quality semen to be obtained 37 , Moreover, it has been confirmed that semen obtained by means of urethral catheterisation and subsequently cryopreserved is capable of fertilisation As far as wild felids are concerned, this procedure has already been applied for the Asiatic lion Panthera leo persica and the Asian golden cat Catopuma temminckii Citation: Journal of Veterinary Research 63, 3; In the case of the sudden death of a valuable individual it is possible to collect spermatozoa from the epididymis tail after previous testis isolation.
Spermatozoa are obtained by multiple incisions of the epididymis tail suspended in a suitable medium, which leads to release of motile spermatozoa. This procedure allows live spermatozoa to be obtained even 24 h after animal death, provided that the testis was properly preserved, which is extremely important in the case of most precious endangered animals. The sperm of most wild cat species and the domestic cat is characterised by a large number of morphological abnormalities, which has a negative impact on the reproductive potential of these animals 30 , It is believed that poor semen quality is associated with decreased heterozygosity owing to a small population size and limited gene flow between diverse populations Oocytes are difficult to obtain and very valuable as their number is extremely low.
Wild cat oocytes can be obtained in vivo or post mortem in emergency situations. In vivo oocyte collection involves laparoscopy under general anaesthesia preceded by hormonal stimulation. This procedure requires very expensive equipment and qualified research staff. Additionally, it cannot be performed without in-depth knowledge of the biology of reproduction, especially the oestrous cycle of a given species.
This method obtains approximately 10 oocytes from one female individual 12 , 16 , Oocytes can also be collected post mortem in urgent situations. Unfortunately these cases usually concern old or sick individuals. It grants time for transporting ovaries after female death to a specialised laboratory Oocytes from dead individuals can be recovered by means of follicular aspiration from isolated ovaries or by scarification of the ovarian cortex, depending on the ovary size. The number of oocytes collected from wild cats post mortem ranges between 0 and and depends on multiple factors such as species, age, stage of the oestrus cycle, and health It is common knowledge that with age the number of obtained oocytes is lower and they are characterised by poorer quality and reduced or almost utterly lost developmental competence In some wild cat species, such as the lion Panthera leo , puma Felis concolor , and jaguar Panthera onca , no oocytes were obtained from individuals older than 14 years 16 , which is connected with gradual suppression of reproductive functions When it comes to females at the same age representing other species, e.
However, the number of oocytes was lower than in younger females and it amounted to 53 oocytes, while for very young and healthy females this number reached almost Experiments involving cat oocytes conducted so far have revealed the presence of two oocyte populations in domestic and wild cats: one with dark cytoplasm, cells of which are capable of being fertilised under in vitro conditions, and the other with pale cytoplasm, with limited fertilisation competence.
The dark colour of the cytoplasm results from the presence of a large quantity of lipids. What is more, oocytes recovered post mortem are immature and must be subjected to in vitro maturation IVM. Due to a shortage of wild cat oocytes the majority of protocols for in vitro embryo production are tested on oocytes obtained from the domestic cat. The efficiency of wild cat semen cryopreservation was confirmed based on fertilisation trials conducted on specimens from the domestic cat 7 , 8 , Domestic cat oocytes can be used as recipients of nuclei in somatic cloning Establishment of wild cat gamete and somatic cell banks allows the preservation of a vast genetic pool of endangered populations and provides a safeguard in case of failure to preserve a given species using in situ methods In some populations the loss of merely one individual results in serious reduction of an already limited genepool, and preserving its genetic material prevents the loss of invaluable genes.
Furthermore, gametes and somatic cells obtained from that individual can be used for many years after its death. With regard to assisted reproductive techniques and their application to wild species, the most serious difficulty is the technologist having at their disposal both female and male gametes in the same place and at the same time. Therefore cryopreservation of gametes and somatic cells and establishment of cell banks open up the possibility for successful delayed in vitro fertilisation or cloning.
The techniques for cryopreservation of spermatozoa have been sufficiently refined. In the last few years the Department optimised methods for cryopreservation of semen obtained from the domestic cat and managed to freeze and bank semen from two wild felids: the ocelot Leopardus pardalis and lion Panthera leo 37 , 38 , As far as efficiency of oocyte cryopreservation is concerned, it is subject to ongoing research. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the efficiency of cryopreservation, especially in the case of oocytes obtained from valuable feline species.
Many centres store either oocytes or semen from various feline species in their gene banks. It would be highly useful and practical to create databases to enable further development of the procedures for in vitro fertilisation and provide research institutes with a possibility of exchanging their genetic resources to avoid cross-fertilisation using gametes from the domestic cat, which the shortage in spermatozoa or oocytes from wild felids might otherwise impose.
Besides wild cat gamete preservation, it is also necessary to secure and bank somatic cells, specifically fibroblasts harvested from skin sections.
Obtaining small skin sections some millimetres long is not very invasive and the specimen can be taken as other veterinary treatments are administered Fig. Fibroblasts obtained from wild felids kept in the cell bank constitute a source of nucleus donors used in the procedures for cloning selected cat species or in cross-species cloning.
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Moreover, these cells can be utilised to conduct other research without the need to collect material from live animals. Thanks to the establishment of wild cat gene banks and provision of opportunities for exchanging genetic resources, Poland may become an attractive partner for other research centres and contribute to preserving the biodiversity of wild cats all over the world.
In vitro fertilisation IVF techniques allow offspring to be obtained from individuals with reduced fertility, from isolated populations, and even many years after the death of the animal using gametes stored in cell banks. The first domestic cat conceived utilising the classic IVF technique was born in Since that time, IVF has been employed multiple times in wild cat reproduction, which has resulted in live births in the following wild feline species: the tiger, caracal, serval, fishing cat, Asiatic wildcat, and black-footed cat 4 , 31 , 32 , 34 , It must be remembered that the efficiency of classic IVF depends mainly on good semen quality, which in the case of wild cats is extremely rare.
Priorities for global felid conservation
With regard to using gametes subjected to cryopreservation, premature exocytosis of the cortical granules leads to zona pellucida hardening, which reduces the efficiency of classic IVF. Due to damage to the zona pellucida, classic IVF is commonly accompanied by polyspermy These impediments can be eliminated by using another technique — intracytoplasmic sperm injection ICSI.
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In the case of sperm microinjection, fertilisation success or failure does not depend on specific changes having or not having taken place in gamete structure and function provided that sufficiently good DNA integrity has been maintained. Since that time multiple further research papers in this discipline have been published 1 , 2 , 32 , 35 , 37 , 40 , Sperm microinjection has a lot of advantages but is a very complex and expensive technique that requires costly equipment and can only be performed by highly-qualified staff.
A Polish research team has been successfully producing domestic cat embryos under in vitro conditions for many years and the results are comparable to those obtained by other international centres Figs 7 and 8.
Cloning is a technique that has generated abundant expectations among researchers all over the world. Journal List Data Brief v.
Biology and conservation of wild felids 
Data Brief. Published online Oct 3. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Tensen: moc.
Associated Data Supplementary Materials Supplementary material. Specifications table Subject area Biology More specific subject area Conservation management Type of data Table, Figure How data was acquired The data was obtained from online literature searching engines Scopus, EBSCO and Google Scholar Data format Raw and partially analysed Experimental factors None Experimental features Quantitative data analysis Data source location Not applicable Data accessibility Data is presented in this article and publically available for educational, commercial, or scientific purposes.
Open in a separate window. Data It is important find biases in wildlife research to better allocate conservation funds in the future . Table 1 All felid and canid species included in this dataset and their average body weight in kg. Table 3 Felid and canid species listed into three categories: 1 top predator with a strong top-down effect in a functional group, 2 meso predator with a moderate top-down effect in a functional group, and 3 small predator with a minor top-down effect in a functional group.
Table 5 All scientific articles published on felid and canid species between and Acknowledgements I would sincerely like to thank my colleagues Devon Main and John Chau for providing valuable discussions and grammar assistance during the writing of this article. Transparency document. Supplementary material Supplementary material Click here to view. Appendix A. Supplementary material S1.
Supplementary material Click here to view. References 1. Tensen L. Biases in wildlife and conservation research, using felids and canids as a case study. Restani M. Funding Extinction? Biological needs and political realities in the allocation of resources to endangered species recovery. Knight A. Knowing but not doing: selecting priority conservation areas and the research—implementation gap.
Dickman A. Priorities for global felid conservation.
nesschurchmalbleroroo.ga Brodie J. Is research effort allocated efficiently for conservation? Felidae as a global case study. Macdonald E.
Conservation inequality and the charismatic cat: felis felicis. Fazey I. What do conservation biologists publish? Macdonald D. Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Biology and Conservation of Wild Canids. Version Davic R. Linking keystone species and functional groups: a new operational definition of the keystone species concept.
Gumbs R. Tetrapods on the EDGE: overcoming data limitations to identify phylogenetic conservation priorities. PLoS One.