This masters project was undertaken to have a better knowledge of the female lion reproductive tract and to equip the author for future surgical studies on this organ system. The objectives of this study were to describe the arterial supply and histology of the female reproductive organs of the African lion.
The reproductive organs of three embalmed cadavers and two fresh carcasses from three-year-old known aged nulliparous lionesses weighing between 120 kg and 140 kg were studied. The project was approved by the Animal Use and Care Committee and Research Committee of the University of Pretoria (protocol number V038-09).
The arterial supply of the reproductive organs was studied and described in situ and after removal and histology was subsequently performed. A novel technique in Veterinary anatomy involving the maceration of a silicone cast was used in the two fresh carcasses and all five specimens were incorporated in the comparative and arterial studies. Histology was performed on organs from the three embalmed cadavers.
The anatomical information obtained during this study was subsequently applied in a surgical study on sixteen lionesses using laparoscopy to perform laparoscopic ovariectomy and salpingectomy. The availability of these two laparoscopic procedures subsequently led to a wider interest to its application in population control of lions in the smaller national parks of South Africa.