Artificial insemination (AI)


Photo © Daryl Hoffman, Houston.

One of the first experiments with artificial insemination was undertaken with the african elephant cow Idunda in Basel Zoo in switzerland. They were unsuccesful.

In 1999 Dr. Dennis Schmitt (extern link), associate professor of veterinary medicine at Southwest Missouri State University, made history by being the first researcher to produce an elephant from artificial insemination. (The Asian elephant Haji in Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield, U.S.A.).

AI has throughout the last years proven to be succesful with elephants, due to the efforts of Dr. Dennis Schmitt and the IZW (Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research in Berlin) crew: Dr. T. Hildebrandt, Dr. F. Göritz, Dr. R. Hermes and Dr. G. Fritsch. But this metod is very expensive, and has its drawbacks, why most facilities in the future will concentrate their efforts to establish a self supporting captive elephant population.

In 1998, two of the Indianapolis Zoos female African elephants, Kubwa and Ivory, became pregnant through artificial insemination (AI). They were the worlds first African elephants to become pregnant through AI!

In 2001 the female african Sabi gave birth to the male african calf Abu in Vienna Zoo, Austria. The semen was collected from the bull Tembo in Colchester Zoo, England, this was the first time in europe that artificial insemination in elephants resulted in pregnancy.

In the future, probably only Zoo bred elephants will be exhibited in Zoos, since it is difficult to import wild elephants from africa and Asia. India, for example, prohibited trading of wild elephants 1977, but captive elephants born under domestication are traded. An import of 7 african elephants from Botsawana/South africa 1999 to europe resulted in extreme negative critic from welfare organisations, why african elephant imports will probably also be rare, although some african populations has grown to such numbers that thousand of elephants has to be culled.

Therefore, each fertile individual is expremely important, and in some situations, an artificial insemanination is the only way to breed the animal, who othervise may become to old before a natural breeding may takes place. In other cases, some Zoos may avoid to keep bulls, but still want to breed their female elephants.

So far, 53 elephants has been born by AI since 1999, 27 males, and 21 females. The next step is now to select the semen, in order to avoid the birth of too many bulls in captivity.

Sex ratio of elephant babies produced with Artificial insemination
 Males  27 / 53 
 51%
 Females  21 / 53 
 40%
 Unknown  5 / 53 
 9%


There is 21 bull elephants with AI offspring in the database.

(Show ALL - only africans - only asians
OffspringNameSpeciesOriginBirth dateDeath dateParents
9 babiesJack (Jackson)LAwild1976living x
7 babiesBulwagiLAcaptive-born1981-03-03livingPeter x Mama
4 babiesRajaEMcaptive-born1994-01-19living x Shree
3 babiesTemboLAwild1983living x
2 babiesSteve (wild)LAwildliving x
2 babiesEmmett (Tundi)EMcaptive-born1991-07-10livingIndy (Butch) x Romani
2 babiesBong SuEMwild1974-08-03† 2017-10-09 x
2 babiesAliLAwild1991living x
2 babiesSamsonEMcaptive-born1998-05-04livingCalvin (Chanda) x Kitty (Mookee)
1 babiesMaclean (Mac)LAwild1982living x
1 babiesCalvin (Chanda)EMcaptive-born1986-08-11† 2015-10-22Bandara x Kamala
1 babiesAkunEM1977living x
1 babiesBodhiEMcaptive-born2004-04-16livingCoco (Sultan) x Phoebe
1 babiesSolomonLAwild1983† 2008-02-05 x
1 babiesAbuLAcaptive-born2001-04-25livingTembo x Sabi
1 babiesSneezyEMwild1973living x
1 babiesNikoLAcaptive-born1997-06-03livingYossi x Norris (Mazal)
1 babiesHankEMcaptive-born1988-01-16livingVance (Matt) x Mala (Lalea)
1 babiesRex (Bimbo, Barney)EMwild1968living x
1 babiesDaleLAwild1978† 2003-11-03 x
1 babiesLimboLAcaptive-born1991-01-13† 2017-04-08Yossi x Lara (Amy)

53 Elephants born through artificial insemination

IndexNameSpecies
Sex
OriginAgeBirthDeath dateParentsArrivalPresent or last Location
1-Frankie-EM
M
captive-born years (errors?..)2021Hank x Phoebe2021-06-17Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
2-notnamed-LA
M
captive-born years (errors?..)2021 x Kali2021-06-05Zlin Lesna-Got Zoo
3-Winnie-EM
F
captive-born years (errors?..)2021Bodhi x Tupelo2021-03-10Houston Zoo
4-Kimana-LA
F
captive-born years (errors?..)2020Abu x Tika2020-04-20Wuppertal Zoo
5-Fitz-EM
M
captive-born years (errors?..)2019Jack (Jackson) x Mikki2019-09-02Louisville Zoo
6+ ♀ -Kibali-LA
F
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)20192021-07-09 x Numbi2019-07-13Vienna Zoo
7+ ♀ -Unnamed-EM
F
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)2019Raja x Geetha2019-01-12Whipsnade Wild Animal Park
8+ ♀ -stillborn-LA
F
captive-born < 1 2 years (errors?..)20182018-07-01 x Zola2018-07-01Zlin Lesna-Got Zoo
9-Thorn-EM
M
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)2018Samson x Rozie (Rozana)2018-05-04Albuquerque Biological Park
10+ ♀ -Binti-LA
F
captive-born < 1 2 years (errors?..)20182018-01-22 x Duna2018-01-20Rhenen Zoo
11+ ♀ -stillborn-LA
F
captive-born < 1 2 years (errors?..)20162016-04-19Niko x Goni (Beule)2016-03-00Amneville Zoo (Coulange Zoo)
12-Sutton-LA
M
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)2014Steve (wild) x Five2014-05-05West Midland Safari Park
13-Iqhwa-LA
F
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)2013Steve (wild) x Tonga (Rambo)2013-09-04Vienna Zoo
14-Bowie-EM
M
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)2013Samson x Bluebonnet2013-08-05Fort Worth Zoo
15-Namsai-EM
M
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)2013Raja x Bua2021-05-11Heidelberg Zoo
16-Rungwe-LA
M
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)2012Limbo x NDala2021-10-07Gyor Zoo
17+ ⚪ -noname-LA
captive-born < 1 2 years (errors?..)20122012-07-06? x MBili (Mbli)2012-07-06Beauval Zoo
18+ ♀ -Nyah-LA
F
captive-born 7 years (errors?..)20122019-03-19Jack (Jackson) x Ivory2012-06-28Indianapolis Zoo
19+ ♀ -stillborn-EM
F
captive-born < 1 7 years (errors?..)20122012-03-25Raja x Tara2012-03-25Twycross Zoo
20-Jabali-LA
M
captive-born 7 years (errors?..)2011Ali x Vasha2011-08-24Disneys Animal Kingdom
21+ ♀ -Kalina-LA
F
captive-born 8 years (errors?..)20112019-03-26Jack (Jackson) x Kubwa2011-07-20Indianapolis Zoo
22+ ♀ -miscarriage-EM
F
captive-born < 1 8 years (errors?..)20112011Raja x Chandrika2011-00-00Woburn Safari Park
23-Pathi Harn-EM
M
captive-born 8 years (errors?..)2010Bong Su x Porntip2015-04-24Taronga Dubbo Western Plains Zoo
24+ ⚪ -stillborn-LA
captive-born < 1 8 years (errors?..)20102010-02-24Jack (Jackson) x Opal2010-02-24Colchester Zoo
25-Mali-EM
F
captive-born 8 years (errors?..)2010Bong Su x Chaba2010-01-15Melbourne Zoo
26-Jake-EM
M
captive-born 8 years (errors?..)2009Rex (Bimbo, Barney) x Natasha2018-10-08Denver Zoo
27-Zuri-LA
F
captive-born 8 years (errors?..)2009Jack (Jackson) x Christi2009-08-10Hogle Zoo (Salt City Zoo)
28+ ♀ -Lil Girl-LA
F
captive-born < 1 8 years (errors?..)20092009-07-07Jack (Jackson) x Asali2009-07-06Memphis Zoo
29+ ⚪ -fetal death-LA
captive-born < 1 8 years (errors?..)20082008-10-28Jack (Jackson) x Dottie2008-10-27Atlanta Zoo
30+ ♀ -miscarriage-EM
F
captive-born < 1 8 years (errors?..)20082008-08-14Sneezy x Chai2008-08-14Seattle Zoo (Woodland Park Zoo)
31-Tsavo-LA
M
captive-born 8 years (errors?..)2008Jack (Jackson) x Moyo2015-11-13Disneys Animal Kingdom
32+ ♂ -Scotty-LA
M
captive-born 3 years (errors?..)20072010-05-12Jack (Jackson) x Mikki2007-03-18Louisville Zoo
33-Zahara-LA
F
captive-born 3 years (errors?..)2006Ali x Ivory2006-08-31Indianapolis Zoo
34+ ♂ -stillborn-LA
M
captive-born < 1 3 years (errors?..)20062006-02-10 x Genny C (Timba)2006-02-25Seneca Park Zoo
35+ ♂ -Thabo-Umasai-LA
M
captive-born 11 years (errors?..)20062017-07-03Tembo x Drumbo2011-08-11Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
36-Gabi (Boon-Chooi)-EM
M
captive-born 11 years (errors?..)2005Emmett (Tundi) x Kwunjai (Tamar)2010-10-06Gaziantep Zoo
37-Kedar-LA
M
captive-born 11 years (errors?..)2005Bulwagi x Kubwa2005-10-18Indianapolis Zoo
38-Tamani-LA
M
captive-born 11 years (errors?..)2005Bulwagi x Ellie2015-10-05Kansas City Zoo
39+ ♂ -Noname-LA
M
captive-born < 1 11 years (errors?..)20052005-05-13Bulwagi x Ibala2005-05-13Disneys Animal Kingdom
40+ ♂ -stillborn-EM
M
captive-born < 1 11 years (errors?..)20042004-07-01Emmett (Tundi) x Delhi2004-07-01Usti nad Labem Zoo
41+ ♂ -stillborn-LA
M
captive-born < 1 11 years (errors?..)20032003-04-07Bulwagi x Robin2003-11-24Disneys Animal Kingdom
42+ ♂ -Tufani-LA
M
captive-born 11 years (errors?..)20032014-01-00Maclean (Mac) x Moyo2013-05-15National Elephant Center U.S.A.
43-Louie-LA
M
captive-born 11 years (errors?..)2003Bulwagi x Renee (Mbili)2021-06-03North Carolina Zoo
44+ ♀ -Xixi-EM
F
captive-born 2 years (errors?..)20032005-12-26Akun x Jing Sheng2003-04-30Xian Qinling Zoological Park
45+ ♀ -stillborn-LA
F
captive-born < 1 2 years (errors?..)20032003-03-21Bulwagi x Misha2003-03-21Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Six Flags Marine World)
46+ ♂ -Kito-LA
M
captive-born 15 years (errors?..)20022017-03-13Tembo x Tanya2009-06-03Dvur Kralove Zoo
47+ ♀ -stillborn-LA
F
captive-born < 1 15 years (errors?..)20022002-09-28Solomon x Tika2002-09-28Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Six Flags Marine World)
48+ ♂ -stillborn-LA
M
captive-born < 1 15 years (errors?..)20022002-07-27Bulwagi x Rafiki2002-07-27Toledo Zoo
49-Kandula-EM
M
captive-born 15 years (errors?..)2001Calvin (Chanda) x Shanthi2015-10-00Oklahoma City Zoo
50-Abu-LA
M
captive-born 15 years (errors?..)2001Tembo x Sabi2006-07-20Halle Zoo
51+ ♀ -Amali-LA
F
captive-born 3 years (errors?..)20002003-06-03Dale x Kubwa2000-03-06Indianapolis Zoo
52+ ⚪ -miscarriage-LA
captive-born 3 years (errors?..)02012-03-17 x GinaMemphis Zoo
53-unknown-EM
captive-born 3 years (errors?..)0 x Pang Sao2009-00-00Maesa Elephant Camp


23 elephants mentioned in the database with association to AI

IndexNameSpecies
Sex
OriginAgeBirthDeath dateParentsArrivalPresent or last Location
1-Kanlaya-EM
F
captive-born years (errors?..)2018Putra Mas x Porntip2018-06-14Taronga Dubbo Western Plains Zoo
2-Ongard-EM
M
captive-born years (errors?..)2010Bong Su x Kulab2018-05-09Zoo Miami (Miami Metro Zoo)
3-Barack (Rocky)-EM
M
captive-born years (errors?..)2009Doc x Bonnie2012-00-00Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation
4-AI-EM
M
captive-born years (errors?..)2007Ngam x Kod2007-03-07TECC (Thai Elephant Conservation Center - National Elephant Institute)
5-Albert-EM
M
captive-born years (errors?..)1998Calvin (Chanda) x Lilly (Israela)2003-11-19Albuquerque Biological Park
6-Samson-EM
M
captive-born years (errors?..)1998Calvin (Chanda) x Kitty (Mookee)2018-04-10Portland Zoo (Metro Washington Park Zoo)
7-Noor Jahan-EM
F
captive-born years (errors?..)1995 x 2018-08-30Blackpool Zoo
8-Bonnie-EM
F
captive-born years (errors?..)1994Vance (Matt) x Sid (Sue)2021-04-00White Oak Conservation
9-Chaba-EM
F
captive-born years (errors?..)1993 x 2006-11-06Melbourne Zoo
10-Tooth-LA
M
wild years (errors?..)1992 x 2019-05-28Wuppertal Zoo
11-Matjeka-LA
F
wild years (errors?..)1991 x 2003-08-21Lowry Park Zoo
12-Msholo-LA
M
wild years (errors?..)1989 x 2019-07-24Atlanta Zoo
13-Mbali-LA
F
wild years (errors?..)1989 x 2003-08-21Lowry Park Zoo
14-Donna-LA
F
wild years (errors?..)1984 x 2003-11-24Disneys Animal Kingdom
15+ ♀ -Kiba (Chupa)-LA
F
wild 27 years (errors?..)19822009-12-17 x 1995-04-15Nashville Zoo
16-Ellie-LA
F
wild 27 years (errors?..)1982 x 2003-04-18Lowry Park Zoo
17-Opal-LA
F
wild 27 years (errors?..)1982 x 1998-02-28Colchester Zoo
18-Genny C (Timba)-LA
F
wild 27 years (errors?..)1977 x 1979-05-29Seneca Park Zoo
19+ ♀ -Shanthi-EM
F
wild 44 years (errors?..)19762020-06-26 x 1992-11-12Smithsonian National Zoological Park
20-Kubwa-LA
F
wild 44 years (errors?..)1976 x 1978-03-06Indianapolis Zoo
21+ ♂ -Bong Su-EM
M
wild 43 years (errors?..)19742017-10-09 x 1977-02-01Melbourne Zoo
22+ ♂ -Shenka-EM
M
wild 48 years (errors?..)19592007-12-23 x 1993-09-14Circus Alberti (Stefan Frank)
23+ ♀ -Idunda-LA
F
wild 37 years (errors?..)19511988-01-16 x 1956-00-00Basel Zoo


Litterature

Brown, J.L., and Schmitt, D.L. The unusual anatomy and reproductive physiology of the elephant, and challenges with developing artificial insemination. Science India 7:9 & 10 pp 27-32 (2004).

Brown, J. L., Goritz, F, Pratt-Hawkes, N., Hermes, R., Galloway, M., Graham, L. H., Gray, C., Walker, S. L., Gomez, A., Moreland, R., Murray, S., Schmitt, D. L., Howard, J., Lehnhardt, J., Beck, B., Bellem, A., Montali, R., and Hildebrandt, T. B. Successful artificial insemination of an Asian elephant at the National Zoological Park. Zoo Biology 23[1], 45-63. 2004.

Dahl, N.J., Olson, D., Schmitt, D.L., Blasko, D.R., Kristipati, R.S., and Roser, J.F. Development of an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) in the Elephant (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) Zoo Biology 23:65-78 (2004)

In addition to his many journal publications Dr. Schmitt has also authored several book chapters, including the following:

Schmitt D. Reproductive System. In: Biology, Medicine, and Surgery of Elephants. Blackwell Publishing. In Press.

Schmitt D.L. Under the Big Top. Why elephants belong in circuses. In: Ethics of Elephants in Captivity. C. Cristen ed. John Hopkins University Publishing. In Press.

Schmitt, D. Ultrasonography of Elephants In: Health Care, Breeding and Management of Asian Elephants. Editor. Dharmeswar Das. Published by College of Veterinary Medicine, Khanapara, Guwahati, Assam, India (2003)

Schmitt, D., Probisdidea (Elephants) In: Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 5th edition. Fowler and Miller. Saunders publishing, St. Louis, Missouri. Chapter 53: 541-549. 2003

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