White-tailed deer may be controlled with contraceptives in suburban areas, where they are sometimes a nuisance. In parts of the United States, does are shot with darts containing a contraceptive vaccine, rendering them temporarily infertile. The Humane Society of the United States runs a deer birth control program, but it is experimental; it may not be cost-effective in the long run.[needs update] It may cost $300 to $1000 per deer.
One contraceptive vaccine used is porcine zona pellucida (PZP), or derivatives. This form of immunocontraception prevents sperm from accessing an ovum. Another form of deer contraception, called GonaCon, produces antibodies to sex drive hormones in the deer, causing them to lose interest in mating.
Oral contraceptives may also be developed for population control among a variety of animals, including deer, feral pigs, coyotes, cougars, dogs and cats. One product that has success in mice, rats, and dogs originally went by the name Mouseopause, but was approved for commercial use under the name ContraPest.
A slow-release hormonal contraceptive implant for female Tasmanian devils is under development. While it may seem counter-intuitive to develop contraceptives for an endangered animal, their use is intended to promote the wild behaviour of mating freely, but without certain females over-contributing to the next generation, which "can have long-term genetic consequences for the insurance population". Contraceptive trials in male devils showed that their testosterone increased, instead of decreasing as other male mammals' testosterone does.
- Schuerman, M. Birth Control for Deer?. Audubon February 8, 2002.
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