Chinese zoologists at the world's largest breeding base for
Siberian tigers on Saturday artificially inseminated a
four-year-old tigress, marking the country's start of the
artificial insemination research on the rare species.
Experts of the China Henghedaozi Feline Breeding Center in
northeastern Heilongjiang Province told Xinhua that
artificial insemination, if proved successful by Saturday's test,
will help avoid inbreeding and genetic degeneration among Siberian
The sperm were taken from a seven-year-old healthy male that has
been trained to live in primitive forests.
The zoologists at the breeding center hope the tigress will
become pregnant and have a healthy baby with the good gene from the
Wang Ligang, manager of the base, said artificial insemination
and DNA tests can better help protect the rare species.
It will no longer be necessary to transport a tiger from far
away just to mate another if the artificial insemination test is
successful, said Wang.
Professor Liu Yutang with the Northeast Forestry University said
that the preparations for the test began in last April.
Liu said artificial insemination will be used in the
crossbreeding of tigers and lions in the future if the test is
Siberian tigers, also known as Amur or Manchurian tigers, are
among the world's 10 most endangered species and mostly live in
northeast China and the Far East area of Russia. They are estimated
to number approximately 400 in the wild, of which 20 or so live in
Artificial insemination has been widely used as a means to
protect endangered species. The State Forestry Administration said
that 34 giant panda cubs were born by artificial insemination in
2006 and 30 of them have survived.
China succeeded in the artificial insemination of giant pandas
The China Henghedaozi Feline Breeding Center was established in
1986 with just eight tigers, and now the population has exceeded
Chinese scientists have adopted a series of measures to increase
the survival rate of captive-bred Siberian tigers, such as DNA
testing, regular health checks, and timely treatment and prevention
The scientists also plan to establish a gene bank for the
endangered Siberian tigers within three years to ensure heredity
diversity for the large cats.
Wang Ligang said the center will have more than 1,000 tigers by
(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2007)