Noninvasive semen collection from an adult orangutan

Catherine A. Vandevoort, Laurie E. Neville, Theodore L Tollner, Leslie P. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Preservation of the genetic diversity of the captive orangutan, especially the wild‐caught founders, is critical in maintaining a long‐term population in zoological parks. One solution to the problem of maintaining maximum genetic diversity would be to initiate a program of artificial insemination for genetically underrepresented individuals through the banking and interinstitutional use of cryopreserved semen. However, little is known about basic orangutan semen characteristics, and current methodology is inadequate to support such a program. In this paper, we report the results of semen collection from an adult Sumatran orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus abelli), using an artificial vagina without anesthesia or electrical stimulation. A total of 27 ejaculates were evaluated during a 1‐year period. The total and liquid volumes of the ejaculates at 1 h following collection were 6.1 ± 0.6 ml and 2.6 ± 0.4 ml, respectively (mean ± SEM). The liquid portion continued to exude semen for 2 h; however, 90% of the motile sperm was exuded within the first 30 min. The total number of sperm in the ejaculate was 164 ± 106 ± 16.5, and the percentage of motile cells was 60 ± 2.7%. We conclude that the artificial vagina provides a promising technique for semen collection in the orangutan, and view these results as an initial step in developing methods for in vitro sperm capacitation, sperm cryopreservation, and artificial insemination. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalZoo Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993


  • artificial vagina
  • great ape
  • Pongo pygmaeus
  • sperm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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