The goal of this project is to establish genome resource banks for okapi and develop artificial insemination techniques with a long-term aim to incorporate new genetic material into geographically disparate populations.
The ability to collect and cryopreserve sperm from okapi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where White Oak Holdings helps support the Okapi Conservation Project, provides a unique opportunity to preserve genetic material from readily available "wild" animals. This can be viewed as banking a sustainable resource rather than translocating live animals and permanently depleting a country of its natural resources.
The economic, legal, administrative, health, and welfare advantages of transporting frozen semen instead of live animals would be tremendously beneficial to wildlife conservation programs. SEZARC is working toward developing artificial insemination protocols for the okapi.
If you are interested in supporting SEZARC studies, please contact us.