Reproduction and reproductive strategies relevant to management of Whooping Cranes ex situ

By: , and 

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Abstract

Due to the small population size (∼400 birds) and continuing threats to wild Whooping Cranes (Grus americana), an ex situ (captive) population is maintained to contribute to the recovery of the species. The goals of the captive breeding program are to provide opportunity for research and birds for reintroduction. However, reproduction among captive birds is far from optimal. Specifically, whooping cranes maintained ex situ experience delayed onset of reproduction as well as low rates of egg production and egg fertility when compared to wild populations. To improve the contribution of the captive population to Whooping Crane recovery, there is a need to (1) advance the understanding about the mechanisms regulating ovarian function and egg production, especially the influence of males (their presence and behavior) on endocrine and reproductive behavior in females, as well as (2) identify the underlying cause(s) of poor reproduction in Whooping Cranes housed ex situ. In this chapter, we summarize current knowledge of Whooping Crane reproduction with a focus on egg production and fertility. We also discuss management strategies, such as environmental management, and reproductive technologies, including artificial insemination and sperm cryopreservation that may benefit captive reproduction, and finish with a discussion of future research priorities.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Reproduction and reproductive strategies relevant to management of Whooping Cranes ex situ
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-803555-9.00017-7
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Academic Press
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Whooping Cranes: Biology and conservation
First page 373
Last page 387