Memorandum Of Understanding


Conservation Breeding Specialist Group

WHEREAS, the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG), [NAME OF INSTITUTION] and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of the IUCN-World Conservation Union's Species Survival Commission are concerned about the grave situation of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), an endemic species of China, and: WHEREAS, in December 1996 a Captive Management Plan was developed by CAZG in the city of Chengdu in partnership with its breeding centre and zoo and facilitated by CBSG, and:

WHEREAS, one of the high priority recommendations of the Plan was to conduct a Biomedical Survey of giant pandas held in Chinese zoos for the purpose of determining each animal's health, genetics and reproductive status and ensuring that each was appropriately and permanently marked for identification, and:

WHEREAS, the CAZG has invited CBSG to assemble a team of scientists to work in partnership with Chinese colleagues to develop a long-term approach on behalf of the continued breeding and successful conservation of the giant panda.

THEREFORE, the parties wish to document the agreed terms and conditions for this cooperation:

(1) The parties agree to work together to conduct a Biomedical Survey of male and female giant pandas at the institutions of the Chinese Partners.

(2) The evaluations will involve a total of x male and y female giant pandas at the designated facility, and the Chinese partners will select these animals.

(3) The evaluations will be conducted in partnership by teams of scientists and managers from both institutions and CBSG.



(4) All travel, housing and food expenses for the CBSG team will be paid by CBSG. The [NAME OF CHINESE INSTITUTION] will provide local transportation and working lunches.

(5) CBSG agrees to provide the [NAME OF CHINESE INSTITUTION] [LIST OF EQUIPMENT TO BE DONATED]. The [NAME OF CHINESE INSTITUTION] agrees to loan necessary equipment for the length of the project.

(6) Veterinarians at the [CHINESE INSTITUTION] will be responsible for anaesthetising each animal. The CBSG Team veterinarians will provide assistance when needed. The safety of the animals is the highest importance.

(7) Once a safe level of anaesthesia has been achieved, the evaluation procedures will be as follows:

a. Identification transponders will be placed. Each animal will be implanted subcutaneously with an electronic transponder chip and tattooed. The chip will be placed in the scapular region at the anterior edge of the black and white juncture. Each animal will be tattooed in the left upper lip. CBSG Team veterinarians will demonstrate and provide training on the use of the transponders, reader and tattooing techniques. Extra transponder chips will be provided for future use by the Chinese partners.

b. A health evaluation will be made by the CBSG and Chinese veterinary teams. A thorough physical examination will be performed that will include:

i. weighing, body measurements and oral/dental exams (the CBSG Team will bring a portable scale);

ii. blood samples (25 ml per animal) collected for haematology, serum chemistry, serum banking and genetics;

iii. biopsies of abnormal tissue growths, if accessible;

iv. an ultrasound examination of the normality of the reproductive system using a rectal probe (other body systems in the abdomen and thorax will be scanned, if time is available);

v. careful monitoring of all anaesthetised animals with pulse oximetry, indirect blood pressure, body temperature and direct observation.

c. The CBSG Team will bring equipment that will allow the electronic monitoring and some of the clinical blood assessments. The remaining assessments will be done by a local human hospital. CBSG will pay for the latter analysis. The CBSG Team will provide instruction and training on the appropriate use of all equipment.

d. Samples for genetic studies will be collected from each animal. These will include a small skin biopsy (0.5 x 0.5 cm), 10 ml of heparinised blood (part of the original 25 ml of collected blood) and 20 pulled hairs. The skin sample will be processed by the geneticists from both teams and then will be stored in liquid nitrogen at the [CHINESE INSTITUTION OR DESIGNATED HOLDING FACILITY]. Blood and hair samples will also be catalogued and stored at these same sites. All samples will be maintained in [CHINESE INSTITUTION OR DESIGNATED HOLDING FACILITY] for use in future genetic studies.

e. X [NUMBER] of males (studbook numbers X, Y, Z, etc.) will be subjected to a standard electroejaculation procedure while under anaesthesia. This procedure will require 20 minutes and will be done in partnership between the CBSG and Chinese scientific teams. Semen will be examined for volume and sperm concentration, motility and percentage of normal sperm forms (after fixing in glutaraldehyde), including assessing the incidence of intact sperm acrosomes. Good quality semen will be cryopreserved by splitting the semen sample and freezing half of it using the Chinese partner's method and half using a method developed in the USA. A small sample of cryopreserved sperm can then be thawed to determine the method that results in the best post-thaw survival. The CBSG Reproductive Physiologist will provide training on the new electroejaculator and other western laboratory procedures. All semen samples will remain in [CHINESE INSTITUTION OR DESIGNATED HOLDING FACILITY].

f. Before or after each anaesthesia episode, historical and behavioural data will be collected and stored on written data sheets and in a laptop computer. This information will include origin, date of birth, reproductive history, and method of oestrus detection, including past opportunities to breed and reproductive success. Information will also include an evaluation by keepers of the animal's behaviour, including such characteristics as shyness or aggression that may be correlated with reproductive success. This will be accomplished by questionnaires in Chinese.

g. The Chinese Team will provide information on diet, which will be forwarded to [NAME AND INSTITUTION OF CBSG TEAM NUTRITIONIST] for further analysis.

(8) All collected information will be the property of the [CHINESE INSTITUTION] and the CAZG. A report on data collected on each animal will be provided. Further, on the last day of the project at [CHINESE INSTITUTION], a meeting will be held to review findings and progress and to exchange ideas. Additionally, copies of all written and computerised data sheets will be shared among the Chinese institution, CAZG office and CBSG.

(9) Resulting publications will be done in full partnership between the Chinese and CBSG Teams. If scientific papers are published in USA journals, CBSG Team members will be primary authors. If papers are published in Chinese journals, Chinese Team members will be primary authors.

This Memorandum of Understanding will be written in Chinese and English and will be legally valid. Other matters not considered in this Memorandum of Understanding will be decided by consensus of the team members.

This Memorandum of Understanding is signed on [DATE].

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