Joanna Kochan, Wojciech Niżański, Nei Moreira, Zalmir Silvino Cubas, Agnieszka Nowak, Sylwia Prochowska, Agnieszka Partyka, Wiesława Młodawska and Józef Skotnicki
With the exception of the domestic cat, all felid species (Felidae) are currently threatened with extinction in their natural habitat. To develop effective and optimal wild cat conservation programmes with assisted reproductive technology (ART) it is necessary to combine advances from different disciplines of science, starting from the biology of the species, through research into the population and habitat, assisted reproductive technologies, establishment of gene banks, developing bioinformatic systems, and ending with biodiversity and endangered species management. In the last few years knowledge of felid reproduction has expanded considerably thanks to comparative studies utilising the domestic cat as a research model for endangered wild cats. Basic reproductive techniques utilised in both domestic cat breeding and rescuing wild felid populations that are threatened with extinction include semen collection and cryopreservation, artificial insemination, oocyte collection, in vitro maturation, in vitro fertilisation, somatic cloning, and embryo transfer. The main directions in which assisted reproductive technologies are being developed in wild cat conservation implementations and the contribution of Polish research centres in advancing these methods are presented.