Saint Louis Zoo (Mexican Gray Wolf)

Karen Bauman, B.S.
Laboratory Manager
www.stlzoo.org

Saving Endangered Species with the IVOS

In their fight to help save the Mexican gray wolf and other species from extinction, Karen Bauman and her team of researchers find the IVOS invaluable. She says that, “the IVOS has changed the shape of the Mexican gray wolf program.”

Before the IVOS, the research team performed subjective assessments of sperm motility, viability, and post-thaw viability. The addition of the IVOS to the research team allowed them to achieve objective, repeatable results in their semen studies. The IVOS was also critical to the success of their most recent study, that assessed which semen extenders and freezing methods yielded the most viable sperm. She says that the results from this study “helped us to eliminate extenders that did not work well with the wolf’s semen and also caused us to change our freezing methods to maximize post-thaw viability. Our post-thaw motility has increased by 20% due to research using the IVOS.” This kind of success is critical to the preservation of endangered species.

Bauman considers the IVOS’s Playback feature particularly useful. “Playback allows us to get a visual image of our analysis. From the image we are able to determine if our parameters are set correctly and adjust them if needed before we continue with the experiment.”

Karen finds the IVOS easy to use, once species parameters are determined and set. For example, in one study with clearly set protocols, the lab allowed college freshmen and juniors to operate the IVOS for data collection. The students quickly learned how to use the IVOS and did not experience any difficulties with analysis.

While continuing to use the IVOS to evaluate gray wolf semen, Bauman plans to expand her IVOS studies to include: Piping guan (bird), domestic dog, Banteng (cattle) and addax (antelope).

Bauman appreciates that “Hamilton Thorne is interested in what we are doing. She says the interest shows because, “HT takes the time to answer all of our technical questions about the IVOS and aids our work with a diverse species by helping us determine the best analysis settings for each creature.” Bauman goes on to say that, “technical support and customer service has been top-rate. Working with HT has been a great experience all around.”

Wolf pup produced as a result of Bauman's current research

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