Birth of the first test-tube baby lions
In South Africa, two lion cubs were born via non-surgical artificial insemination, using fresh semen collected from an adult male lion. These are the first ever lion cubs to be born using artificial insemination. The lion cubs are in the sanctuary of Ukutulu, and veterinarians have no complaints about their health. They were given the names Isabella and Victor.
The experiment was conducted by the staff of the University of Pretoria. The scientists hope that modern technologies will help to make a breakthrough in the conservation of endangered wild cats. The African lion population is estimated to have decreased from 1.2 million in 1800 to about 25000 in 2016, and 18000 in 2018, a reduction of more than 98% over 220 years and more than 60% in the last 25 years. It also should be noted that several species of large cats were threatened with complete extinction. Humans are the main reason for the depletion of their number.
The Biologists note that they do not plan yet to use the method on an industrial scale. According to experts, the methodology has yet to be developed and improved. However, they tell that although the artificial insemination of the African lion was carried out, in the future, the technology could be used for other members wild felines family.
Aizhana Danabekova holds a BA in International Relations and is currently studying for an MSocSc in Cultural Sociology at University College Dublin. She started her career in journalism in Almaty, Kazakhstan at Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. She wrote articles about different cultures and led the title “Let’s learn Kazakh”.