WYSIWYG Welsh Terriers
Our Contribution To Science

Saint Louis Zoo's Research Department has been working to develop a reliable method of freezing Mexican wolf semen, as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Program for that species. Canid sperm, in general, present a problem, in that they seem not to survive freezing and thawing as well as do the sperm from species such as cattle or even humans. A further problem with wolves is that they have a very short breeding season, which results in males producing good quality semen for only about one month per year. As you can imagine, that severely limits our opportunities to test semen handling and preservation techniques.

To help address that problem, we are hoping to use semen from domestic dogs (that produce sperm year round) to perform some basic experiments that will help us narrow down the variables we will need to test with Mexican wolf semen in the upcoming breeding season (starting late January/early February). Our focus this season is on standardizing protocols for cooling the sperm before it is frozen. The experiments will separate each semen sample into several fractions and submit each to a different cooling rate. Than all samples will be frozen as pellets on dry ice, and later thawed for evaluation of post-thaw quality. The two protocols that yield the best results will then be tested on the wolf samples.

CH, CACH-S (Int CH) Baileywyc's Mawr Anwylyd, CD, SE, RN, TT, CGC (Moose) received recognition from the Saint Louis Zoo and The Wild Canid Survival and Research Center for his contribution to the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan.

Species Survival Plans are coordinated by the
American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Saint Louis Zoo's Research Department is investigating the role of parental care in canid species such as fennec fox, bush dog, Mexican grey wolf.  A part of this research involves the development of a hormone assay to detect prolactin levels in canids.  Serum samples are needed to validate our assay, to be sure it is effective in detecting prolactin in the various canid species and at both high and low levels of prolactin.

Prolactin is a protein hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland in the brain.  Although prolactin has many functions, it is most commonly known because of its effect of promoting lactation in mammals.  In canids, prolactin is present in low levels in adults of both sexes during the non-breeding season.  During pregnancy (or in canids also during pseudo-pregnancy) prolactin gradually increases until it reaches peak levels around the time of parturition and remains elevated during lactation.

We need anestrous (non-breeding season) samples from both males and females to establish the low values.  To establish the high values we need samples from 1.) females in late gestation or late pseudopregnancy and/ or during lactation and 2.) from males 1 - 3 months post-mating.

Esty Glen Wybr y Pwll Nofiwr, JE, RN, TT, CGC, CG and CH, UCICB (Int CH) Datawelsh Bychan Lleu Lleu, TT, CGC donated very important samples to this project - less than 24 hours before whelping and again eight-fourteen days after whelping.

CH, CACH-S (Int CH) Baileywyc's Mawr Anwylyd, CD, SE, RN, TT, CGC donated his blood sample ten weeks post-mating.

The following Baileywyc and Wysiwyg Welsh terriers also donated blood samples to this project:
Wysiwyg-Baileywyc Clebryn, CGC
CH, CACH-B (Int CH) Wysiwyg-Baileywyc Syndod Hogyn, RN, CGC, TT
Lucy Eldredge, with one of the gray wolves she raised during her career as a zookeeper.
July 2002 - Representatives from the Saint Louis Zoo collecting a blood sample from Moose.