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Robeck T.R.,SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center | Montano G.A.,SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center | Steinman K.J.,SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center | Smolensky P.,Dolphin Adventure | And 3 more authors.
Animal Reproduction Science | Year: 2013

Since its development in bottlenose dolphins, widespread application of AI with sex-selected, frozen-thawed (FT) spermatozoa has been limited by the significant expense of the sorting process. Reducing the total number of progressively motile sperm (PMS) required for an AI would reduce the sorting cost. As such, this research compared the efficacy of small-dose deep uterine AI with sexed FT spermatozoa (SEXED-SMALL; ~50×106PMS, n=20), to a moderate dose deposited mid-horn (SEXED-STD, ~200×106PMS; n=20), and a large dose of FT non-sexed spermatozoa deposited in the uterine body (NONSEXED-LARGE, 660×106PMS, n=9). Ten of the 11 calves resulting from use of sexed spermatozoa were of the predetermined sex. Similar rates of conception (NONSEXED-LARGE: 78%, SEXED-STD: 60%, SEXED-SMALL: 57%) and total pregnancy loss (TPL: NONSEXED-LARGE: 28.6%; SEXED-STD: 41.0%; SEXED-SMALL: 63.6%) were observed across groups, but early pregnancy loss (EPL,

Robeck T.R.,SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Inc. | Steinman K.J.,SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Inc. | Montano G.A.,SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Inc. | Montano G.A.,Texas A&M University | And 8 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2010

Artificial insemination (AI) with liquid-stored spermatozoa and sperm cryopreservation using directional freezing (DF) have been successful in the beluga. This study built on this foundation to develop a deep intra-uterine AI technique with frozen-thawed semen in beluga. Forty-two ejaculates from one male were cryopreserved using DF technology and subsequently used for 10 insemination attempts with seven females. Percentage pre- and post-thaw progressive motility and viability were (mean ± SD) 73.0 ± 12.2, 38.4 ± 8.8, 88.0 ± 0.1, and 59.3 ± 15.7%, respectively. A series of GnRH injections (3 x 250 μg, IV, 1.5 to 2 h apart) were used to induce ovulation, once a growing follicle >2.5 cm in diameter was visualized via trans-abdominal ultrasonography. Artificial insemination was performed at 30.1 ± 3.8 h post-initial GnRH injection with semen deposited in the uterine horn, 92.6 ± 16.2 cm beyond the genital opening using a flexible endoscope. The external cervical os (cEOS) was located beyond a series of 5 to 10 vaginal rings, 44.8 ± 9.3 cm from the external genital opening. The internal bifurcation of the uterus was 27 ± 6.8 cm beyond the cEOS. Ovulation occurred at 8.5 ± 7.6 h post-AI. Two of 10 inseminations (20%) resulted in pregnancy. The first pregnancy resulted in twins; both calves were born 442 d after AI, with one surviving. The second pregnancy is ongoing. These findings represent the first successful application of AI using frozen-thawed semen in beluga, and are important examples of how assisted reproductive technologies can provide tools for the global management of threatened species. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Colitz C.M.H.,Ohio State University | Saville W.J.A.,Ohio State University | Renner M.S.,Dolphin Research Center | McBain J.E.,Busch Entertainment Corporation | And 13 more authors.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association | Year: 2010

Objective To determine risk factors for lens luxation and cataracts in captive pinnipeds in the United States and the Bahamas. Design Cross-sectional study. Animals 111 pinnipeds (99 California sea lions [Zalophus californianus), 10 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), and 2 walruses [Odobenus rosmarus]) from 9 facilities. Procedures Eyes of each pinniped were examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for the presence of cataracts or lens luxations and photographed. Information detailing husbandry practices, history, and facilities was collected with a questionnaire, and descriptive statistical analyses were performed for continuous and categorical variables. Odds ratios and associated 95% confidence intervals were estimated from the final model. Results Risk factors for lens luxation, cataracts, or both included age ≥ 15 years, history of fighting, history of ocular disease, and insufficient access to shade. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance Diseases of the lens commonly affect captive pinnipeds. Access to UV-protective shade, early identification and medical management of ocular diseases, and prevention of fighting can limit the frequency or severity of lens- related disease in this population. An extended life span may result from captivity, but this also allows development of pathological changes associated with aging, including cataracts.

Osborn S.,SeaWorld San Antonio | Dalton L.,SeaWorld San Antonio | Dold C.,SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment | Robeck T.,SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment | Robeck T.,SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

A 22-yr-old multiparous beluga, Delphinapterus leucas, with consistently elevated serum progesterone concentrations postartificial insemination was diagnosed with viable twins at 149 days postconception. Twins were of similar size at least until day 264, the last point when ultrasound measurements of both twins were made. However, ultrasound was used to determine the viability of both fetuses on days 365, 393, and 400. After 90% of normal gestation, or 434 days, steroids were administered to encourage fetal lung maturation. Seven days later a 40.9-kg live female calf was delivered headfirst. A second 22.7-kg stillborn calf was delivered in fluke-first presentation 8 hr later. Immediately after birth, the live calf was administered surfactant intratracheally. The next day, it was given beluga immunoglobulin intramuscularly, and started on oral antibiotics and provided nutritional support via an oral gastric tube. The calf started nursing voluntarily on day 3. Antibiotic and nutritional support was discontinued on day 10. Bimonthly weight and length measurements demonstrated that after an initial increased growth rate, the calf has grown within normal parameters after birth. This calf represents the first known successful surviving twin of any cetacean species and sets an important precedent for treatment modalities that may be available to assist the premature cetacean neonate. Copyright © 2012 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Hill H.M.,St. Marys University | Campbell C.,Texas A&M University | Dalton L.,SeaWorld San Antonio | Osborn S.,SeaWorld San Antonio
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

The current study provides additional information for the behavioral development and maternal care of belugas or white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the care of humans. The behaviors and mother-calf interactions of two female beluga calves were recorded from birth to 12 months as part of a longitudinal study of beluga behavioral development. As expected, the primary calf activity for both calves involved swimming with their mothers. The calves initiated the majority of the separations from and reunions with their mothers and exhibited early bouts of independence. Both mothers bonded with their calves and displayed similar maternal care behaviors but exhibited different behavioral patterns. Despite differences in social groupings, housing, and physical health, the two female belugas followed the behavioral development of beluga calves observed previously. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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