Biodiversity is increasingly threatened by intensive agriculture, environmental pollution, extinction of natural habitats and several other factors. Several mammalian species including ungulates have disappeared or are threatened by extinction. However, ungulates play an important role both in the ecosystem and in the economy. In general, species or breeds are considered endangered if their population does not exceed 1,000 individuals. In these cases conservation programmes should be initiated in order to maintain or even increase their number. This review deals with the possibilities and limitations of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in the conservation of ecologically valuable wild, rare and indigenous ungulates. The methods discussed here are artificial insemination, cryo-preservation of semen and embryos, embryo recovery and transfer, in vitro production of embryos, as well as micromanipulation techniques including sperm injection, assisted hatching and cloning. Some of these procedures are already being exploited in the breeding of farm ungulates, but more basic information about the reproductive patterns of wild, rare and indigenous animal species is needed before the routine use of ARTs.
- Assisted reproductive technologies
- Conservation programs
- Rare and endangered ungulates
ASJC Scopus subject areas