Morato, R., Conforti, V., Azevedo, F., Jacomo, A., Silveira, L., Sana, D., Nunes, A., Guimaraes, M., & Barnabe, R. Comparative analyses of semen and endocrine characteristics of free-living versus captive jaguars (Panthera onca). Reproduction, 122(5), 745–751.
Semen and blood samples were obtained from free-living (n = 6) and captive (n = 8) jaguars (Panthera onca) to compare reproductive characteristics between the two populations. Semen samples were analysed for volume (ml), percentage of motile spermatozoa, rate of forward progression (0-5), concentration (10(6) ml(-1)), total sperm count (10(6)) and sperm morphology. Serum testosterone concentration was determined by radioimmunoassay. Although ejaculate volume was greater in captive jaguars (n = 47 samples) than in free-living jaguars (n = 7 samples) (P < 0.05), the free-living jaguars produced more total spermatozoa (59.3 +/- 12.8 versus 152.0 +/- 88.0 x 10(6), respectively; not significant) with better viability and forward progression (2.8 +/- 0.1 versus 3.5 +/- 0.2, respectively; P < 0.05) and more spermatozoa with normal morphology (73.5 +/- 3.9 versus 5.0 +/- 1.1%, respectively; P < 0.05). Serum testosterone concentrations were similar for captive and free-living male jaguars (3.1 +/- 0.7 and 2.1 +/- 0.8 ng ml(-1), respectively). In summary, the data showed that semen may be collected successfully from free-living jaguars and evaluated under field conditions to establish normative reproductive values in this species. The results also indicate that jaguars maintained in zoos show inferior seminal characteristics compared with free-living animals.