Reproductive management of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni)

  • Isacc Bott Mountain West Animal Hospital, Inc. Springville, UT 84663
Keywords: wapiti, Rocky Mountain elk, theriogenology, artificial insemination


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.

AASRP Small Ruminants Sessions