Unlike many of the other big cats, information on the basic reproductive biology of the jaguar is lacking.
This investigation aims to generate information on male and female jaguar reproductive biology, with a primary goal of producing offspring from wild caught animals using natural estrus and non-surgical artificial insemination. It is important that all animals in captivity are represented genetically in the population to maintan a genetically healthy population. However, this can sometimes cause problems if mate incompatibility prevents the necessary pairing for breeding. Current felid artificial insemination technology is dependent on hormone treatment by injection, followed by a surgical technique requiring anesthesia. In this study, based at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the goal is to use a natural estrus with repeated daily vaginal stimulations (accomplished through operant conditioning) to mimic a natural breeding situation (repeated breedings are needed in most felid species to promote ovulation) followed by a non-surgical vaginal insemination.
SEZARC staff have successfully established hormone assays that allow us to monitor jaguar estrus cyclicity and pregnancy, and we are working to develop semen cryopreservation protocols. Further work is ongoing in refining the non-surgical artificial insemination procedures and evaluating the use of hormones to induce ovulation for better estrus synchronization for insemination.
If you are interested in supporting SEZARC studies, please contact us.