How Emett sired a calf in Jerusalem
Saturday 7 August 2004
One of our elephants, Emett, has been taking part in a European Endangered Species programme and a sample of his sperm was used to artificially inseminate an elephant cow in Jerusalem
"We have been working closely with the Berlin Institute for Wildlife Research who are working on techniques for artificially inseminating elephants," explains David Field, Curator of Mammals. "Thanks to the highly skilled staff and excellent facilities we have here at Whipsnade, we have been able to train Emett to take a semen sample."
The researchers monitored the reproductive cycle of Tamar, an Asian elephant based at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. Once she was ready for insemination, a trip was made to Whipsnade to collect a sample from Emett. "This is a highly co-ordinated activity as the sample had to be kept cool in a dry ice box and taken straight to Heathrow, where it was flown to Jerusalem and used to impregnate Tamar," says David Field.
The pregnant cow got a good report Saturday after undergoing an ultrasound to check on her five- month-old foetus. The team of German specialists found her in good shape in her fifth month of a 22-month gestation period.