Wildlife contraceptive

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wildlife contraceptives of various kinds are under development. Contraceptives such as these are intended to control population growth among both tame and wild animals.

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.[1] 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.[1][2] It may cost $300[2] to $1000[1] per deer.

The vaccine used is porcine zona pellucida (PZP), or derivatives.[3] This form of immunocontraception prevents sperm from accessing an ovum.[3] Another form of deer contraception, called GonaCon, produces antibodies to sex drive hormones in the deer, causing them to lose interest in mating.[4]

Similar forms of injectable contraceptive are being studied for use in elk[5] and gray squirrels.[6]

Oral contraceptives may also be developed for population control among a variety of animals, including deer, feral pigs, coyotes, cougars, dogs and cats.[7] 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.[8]

Pigeons have been a target for experimental contraceptives for decades.[9] An oral contraceptive is in use for the control of Canada geese.[5]

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.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Schuerman, M. Birth Control for Deer?. Audubon February 8, 2002.
  2. ^ a b Barr, C. W. A Deer Contraceptive Is Turning Off the Heat. Washington Post August 19, 2004.
  3. ^ a b Broache, A. Oh Deer! Smithsonian October 2005.
  4. ^ McGrath, M. Deer 'pill' curbs aggressive mating. BBCNews September 1, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Boyle, R. Birth Control for Animals. Popular Science March 3, 2009.
  6. ^ Dalhouse, D. Squirrel contraceptive research under way. Clemson University News March 10, 2008.
  7. ^ Oral Contraceptives Could Work For Dogs, Cats, Pigs, Maybe Even Deer And Coyotes. Science News February 25, 2008.
  8. ^ "ContraPest Rodent Control Product Wins EPA Approval". Pest Control Technology, GIA Media, Inc. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  9. ^ Mooallem, J. Pigeon Wars. New York Times October 15, 2006.
  10. ^ "Tasmanian Devil Contraception Trial shows Early Promise". Save the Tasmanian Devil. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015.