Laparoscopy was used to examine the abdominal cavity and evaluate reproductive competence in six adult female gorillas which had not demonstrated copulatory activity within 12 months of examination. Blood samples were obtained on the day of laparoscopy and analyzed for serum estradiol‐17β and progesterone. The uterus and oviducts of each gorilla appeared morphologically normal and free of lesions. The ovaries of three animals contained anatomical evidence of activity as indicated by the presence of luteal scars and a prominent corpus hemorrhagicum, corpus luteum, or developing follicles. No visible luteal or follicular tissue was observed on the ovaries of three gorillas. In the eldest female (age, 22 years) the ovaries were flaccid in texture and demonstrated irregularities in ovarian surface integrity, similar to that observed in women during reproductive senescence. Serum concentrations of estradiol‐17β and progesterone on the day of laparoscopy corresponded with observed ovarian activity. All six females had extensive adhesions in the abdominal cavity exclusive of the reproductive organs. Numerous gut, omentum, and liver to peritoneum adhesions were observed. The results indicated that laparoscopy was a safe and effective method for evaluating anatomical competence in the gorilla. Uterine and ovarian integrity appeared morphologically normal, but only three of the six gorillas showed evidence of ongoing ovarian activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology