February 12, 2014 – Every day, all throughout the animal world, millions of sperm are going to waste, swimming their way to fruitless oblivion. This sperm, if properly harvested and shared, could be used to help save the planet’s endangered species from extinction. The South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction & Conservation (SEZARC) is on a mission to do just that — and is now asking the public to lend a hand to their sperm collecting efforts. By simply texting SPERM to 91011, texters will receive a link that allows them to donate $10 (or more) to SEZARC’s efforts to artificially inseminate endangered species at wildlife conservation centers and zoos around the world.
Before potential adopters start trolling Craigslist for tigers or Somali wild asses in heat, SEZARC Director Dr. Linda Penfold is quick to clarify that people who adopt the exotic sperm will not actually receive frozen animal semen in the mail: “All human donors will be parents in name and spirit only; the sperm we collect is stored and maintained in scientific-appropriate facilities until a prime candidate for impregnation is found.” Adoptive parents may not get the seed, but they won’t be left empty handed once they’ve done the good deed: all donors will receive a link to a Certificate of Adoption that they can print, frame and proudly display.
While the “Adopt-a-Sperm” campaign has an air of irreverence, the organization it supports is actually a serious scientific collective endorsed by leading zoos and conservation groups. SEZARC is currently working on many breeding projects and studies around the globe, including studying the reproductive endocrinology and behavior of giant river otters, stingrays and Malayan tigers in captivity; artificially inseminating jaguars and cheetahs, and collecting and banking sperm from South African elephants, Somali wild asses, cheetahs, gorillas, antelope species, maned wolves and more. “The Adopt-a-Sperm idea is obviously a bit tongue-in-cheek,” says Dr. Penfold. “But the reality is, the financial donations it generates will go a long way to helping a great number of endangered species in need.”
“Just like the male animals in our program, we encourage everyone to give, and give often.”
To donate, text SPERM to 91011 or visit www.sezarc.org.