Last surviving Asiatic cheetahs to undergo artificial insemination

MNA – Head of the Asiatic Cheetah Conservation Project said a team of experts from France will come to Iran in a few weeks to perform artificial insemination on the last surviving Asiatic cheetahs, Koushki and Delbar.

Houman Jokar, head of the Asiatic Cheetah Conservation Project, told Mehr News correspondent on Wednesday that due to Koushki’s old age, they have decided to go ahead with artificial insemination in order to ensure the survival of this species of highly imperiled big cats, which are considered the world’s fastest animals.

Koushki is a male cheetah born in 2006. Now at 12, and with no coupling having yet occurred, there are growing concerns that the male cheetah would be too old to be able to naturally mate with Delbar.

Delbar, now a 6-year-old female Asiatic cheetah, was brought to the fenced enclosure at Tehran’s Pardisan park by conservation officials in hopes that she would mate with Koushki.

Jokar told MNA that they have stored a few samples of Koushki’s sperm in liquid nitrogen in order to ease all concerns.

“Of course, Koushki is perfectly healthy and if we want to perform insemination, we will go directly for his own sperm instead of using the stored one,” Jokar explained, noting that the task had been carried out with help from a team of German experts.

“We are now in talks with a team of French experts who came to Iran once and we held a workshop with them in which they explained what they were going to do,” Jokar said. “About 20 days ago, I was in Paris to finalize our negotiations, and it was decided that the team would come to Iran in the second half of this January to begin the project of artificial insemination.”

“If the insemination is successful, the period of pregnancy will last between 90 to 95 days, and we can expect the birth of a cub in the spring,” he added.