HONOLULU (KHON2) — Staff at the Honolulu Zoo are crossing their fingers that they’ll have little tiger paws running around in a few months.
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The zoo said, last month it’s 6-year-old sumatran tiger named “Anala” underwent artificial insemination.
A team of reproductive specialists from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo performed the surgical procedure with cryopreserved spermatozoa collected from a male Sumatran Tiger at another AZA-accredited zoo.
In preparation for this event, Anala’s keepers trained her for voluntary injections and oral medication acceptance.
“We are fortunate to be afforded this rare opportunity and extend our sincere appreciation to the Henry Doorly Zoo for sending their team to Honolulu to artificially inseminate Anala,” said Honolulu Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Jill Yoshicedo. “Honolulu Zoo’s veterinary team kept Anala safely under anesthesia while she was transported from the tiger exhibit into the surgery room at the zoo’s veterinary clinic and placed on a ventilator. She received supportive medications, fluids, warming, and leg massages, while her vitals and blood chemistry values were carefully monitored throughout the two hour-long procedure.”
They said, while this specific procedure has led to successful births in other species it has led to only four pregnancies so far in tigers, with an overall pregnancy rate of less than 20% and no live births.
The typical gestation period for a tiger is 92 to 113 days.
The zoo said, if Anala does not become pregnant from this procedure, a male tiger could be sent as a potential mate next year.
Anala has made a full recovery from the surgery, and she is back to running along the fence line, jumping on her Boomer ball, and taking it easy in the shade.
Pregnancy will be confirmed if her hormone levels remain elevated for two months after conception, or if there is a fetus detectable on abdominal ultrasound.
Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered, with fewer than 400 left in the wild. They are critically endangered with habitat loss, poaching, and loss of prey animals due to deforestation as the biggest threats to their survivability in the wild.