The first successful artificial insemination of a rhinoceros has been accomplished by scientists from the Berlin Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. Dr. Robert Hermes, Dr. Frank Göritz, and Dr. Thomas Hildebrand developed the methods and instruments for the successful artificial insemination (AI).
The rhinoceros cow, Lulu, 24 years of age, lives at the zoo in Budapest. She is in her fifth month of pregnancy. Rhinos do not reproduce well in captivity. Lack of mating activity has been linked to the development of cysts and tumors in the reproductive tract of the female rhino.
Artificial insemination can significantly improve the management of this species in captivity by saving genetic material for future generations and allowing transport of sperm across long distances rather than the valuable animal itself.
The work is a cooperative effort with hormone and sedation specialists, Dr. Franz Schwarzenberger and Dr. Chris Walzer of the University of Vienna and the Salzburg Zoo, as well as Dr Kristina Tomasova of Zoo Dvur Karlove in the Czech Republic.