Berani, a 13 year old Sumatran tiger at Zoo Miami, was immobilized so specialists could test his fertility Friday morning.
Berani is the father of N’dari, Miami Zoo’s six-month old cub currently on display and another offspring in 2015.
Previous exams indicated a very low sperm count and many of his previous attempts to reproduce have been unsuccessful, according to Zoo Miami.
Reproductive specialists from Nebraska and Ohio partnered with the Zoo Miami Animal Health team, led by Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Gwen Myers, to collect sperm from Berani, via electro-ejaculation so that it could be evaluated.
Though Berani is producing viable sperm, the density in the collected samples was low and highly diluted, which Zoo Miami says could be the reason that previous breeding attempts were unsuccessful.
Despite having a low sperm count, the team was successful in collecting samples of semen which were frozen to help preserve Berani’s genetic material for use in future artificial insemination procedures.
While Berani was immobilized, he also got a dental cleaning and a rabies vaccine and other procedures as part of an overall preventative medicine program.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered and there are believed to be less than 500 left in the wild.
They are found in forested areas on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and are becoming extinct because of habitat loss to palm oil plantations and poaching.