Reproductive management of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni)
Of the six subspecies of elk known to have inhabited North America in historical times, four remain, including the Roosevelt’s (C. canadensis roosevelti), tule (C. canadensis nannodes), Manitoban (C. canadensis manitobensis) and Rocky Mountain elk (C. canadensis nelsoni). Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) are a subspecies of elk found in the Rocky Mountains and adjacent ranges of Western North America. Assisted reproductive technologies described in elk include estrous synchronization, artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in-vitro fertilization. Semen cryopreservation has also been described and semen sales are a large portion of the economic mainstay of elk farmers. Studies on fertility of sex-sorted elk semen are limited but most reviews note the resilience of wapitoid spermatozoa to pass through the sorting process and maintain fertility. Given that profit in this industry is driven by velvet sales and the hunting market, both exclusive to males, the use of sex-sorted semen in the elk industry is increasing each year.