Toronto, Ontario (October 09, 2019) - Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) presented the Toronto Zoo with the Colonel G.D. Dailey Award for Ex-situ Species Propagation for the Wood Bison recovery program. This award recognizes ex-situ propagation and management programs that contribute to the long-term survival of animal species or populations.
Toronto Zoo has been involved in wood bison conservation since 1977 with captive breeding and reintroduction of animals back into the wild. Since that time, efforts from various organizations have resulted in the species being down listed from “endangered” to “threatened”. On-going disease concerns in remaining wood bison populations continue to threaten this species.
“Reproductive technologies, such as artificial insemination, are important tools for improving the genetic management of small populations,” says Dr. Gabriela Mastromonaco, Manager of Reproductive Sciences, Toronto Zoo. “These techniques will help us overcome the challenges of managing the endemic disease that is threatening wood bison herds in the wild. Preservation and distribution of disease-free genetic material, in the form of sperm or embryos, will enable us to maintain genetically diverse disease-free herds in captivity and the wild.”
Toronto Zoo's accomplishment with the Wood Bison recovery program is not only a one of a kind success in Canada, but one of the few programs in the world to repeatedly produce calves from insemination. Furthermore, no other conservation species, or Zoo-based species, has been successfully inseminated with 35 year frozen sperm!