The present paper describes, to our knowledge for the first time, the successful collection and evaluation of semen from the Indian white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), a critically endangered bird. Over a period of 2 yr, semen was collected using the manual massage method and evaluated for semen volume, semen pH, sperm concentration, percentage normal/abnormal spermatozoa, and percentage motile spermatozoa. It appears that the concentration of spermatozoa and percentage motile spermatozoa in the Indian white-backed vultures are low compared to those in other birds. Tyrode medium supplemented with albumin, lactate, and pyruvate (TALP) proved to be the best semen extender compared to two others (Beltsville Poultry Semen Extender and Lake diluent). Furthermore, TALP with 20% egg yolk and supplemented with 8% dimethyl sulfoxide maintained 50% of the initial percentage of motile spermatozoa following cryopreservation and thawing. A computer-aided semen analysis indicated that the spermatozoa of the Indian white-backed vulture are extremely active and swim in linear trajectories for up to 5 h following dilution in TALP. The trajectories were linear with time, but we noticed a decrease in the velocity parameters (average path velocity, curvilinear velocity, and progressive velocity). Thus, the present study provides baseline data on semen characteristics of the highly endangered Indian white-backed vulture, and these data could be of immense importance to reproductive and conservation biologists attempting to breed these animals in captivity, which to date has not been achieved.
sperm motility and transport