Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Cross-species efficacy of a chemically-defined, soy lecithin-based cryomedium for semen banking in imperiled wild felids.

Abstract

Felid semen has historically been frozen using an egg yolk-based cryopreservation medium. However, the use of egg introduces several potential concerns, such as variability in composition, microbial contamination, and regulatory issues. In the present study, our aim was to compare a chemically-defined, soy-based medium (SOY) to a commercial egg yolk-based medium (TEY) for the cryopreservation of sperm in four imperiled small cat species. Semen was collected from adult male cats (n = 6 black-footed cats; n = 6 sand cats; n = 4 fishing cats; and n = 7 Pallas' cats) via electroejaculation, split into two aliquots, and cryopreserved in SOY or TEY. Frozen-thawed samples were evaluated for sperm motility and rate of progressive motility (up to 24 h post-thaw) and acrosome status (0 and 6 h). No difference in post-thaw traits were observed between treatments in all four species. Heterologous IVF using oocytes collected laparoscopically from domestic cats demonstrated no difference among freezing treatments in percentage of mature oocytes that cleaved or the mean number of blastomeres at 48 h post-insemination. More spermatozoa frozen with SOY were bound to the zona pellucida in the sand cat (P = 0.018), but no treatment effect was observed in the other three species. These findings collectively demonstrate that SOY may be a preferable alternative to TEY for sperm cryopreservation in these four wild felid species.