The second year of the artificial insemination in Al Wabra: two of five eggs hatched successfully

March 16th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
The second year of the artificial insemination in Al Wabra: two of five eggs hatched successfully
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It has been already the second year when the conservation project for saving of the Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) was successful with the artificial insemination of females. This species is extinct in the wild. Within the last year, 5 chicks of the Spix’s Macaw have been bred in Al Wabra, two of them artificially. The problem is that there are much more females than males in the captive population. Consequently, there are many females which could breed but they don’t have any partner. However, sex ratio of five mentioned younger is favourable – 3 males : 2 females. On the project of artificial insemination Al Wabra participates together with veterinary specialists from Parrot Reproduction Consulting (PRC).
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Mentioned success in the last year wasn’t the first as the year before three females were artificially inseminated and all seven eggs were put to incubator. The first chick was named „Neumann“ after the veterinary doctor Daniel Neumann from PRC who performed that insemination.I have performed many artificial inseminations in parrots over the years but none have been as special as the ones in the Spix,“ explained Neumann for Gulf Times . Thanks to such innovation in breeding we can expect faster growing of the captive population and then earlier possibility for releasing this species back into the wild. Al Wabra works on this project together with brazilian government.

 

More bred youngers enable to set up new breeding pairs naturally. That’s when genetically compatible partners are put together to one aviary and there can find partners by their own choice. „We have developed a procedure which reduces the contact between the human and the bird to minimum. In a collective aviarie young birds socialize together. That’s the best start for their future life and the only way how to raise selfdependent individuals which will be able to rear their own offspring,“ explained experts from the breeding station in Al Wabra.
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Spix’s macaws as foster parents

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Almost all Spix’s Macaws are hand feeded and they have never had a chance to rear their own youngers. There were several causes but the most important argument was to don’t loose any fertile egg. Everybody wants to extend the captive population maximally. However, some pairs of the Spix’s Macaw had a chance to incubate eggs of different parrot species in 2012 and 2013 so they can try to rear chicks. Unfortunately, failed. Finally, within the last year one pair successfully incubated one egg from the closely related Illiger Macaw (Primolius maracana).

Afterwards, parents were feeding their adoptive chick reliably. They only pluck its tail but the base of feathers wasn’t damaged so it grew up again. This experiment has proved that Spix’s Macaws are still capable to rear their youngers independently. In the last year the success rate of articial insemination was double compared to the year before. Two youngers were hatched again but from only four artificially inseminated eggs. What is more, the single female which shares her aviary with another female was successfully inseminated. They both miss any male but still lay eggs to one nestbox.

Title photo: © Parrot Reproduction Consulting

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