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Reproductive Control Research


Development of Injectable and Oral Contraceptive Technologies and Their Assessment for Wildlife Population and Disease Management

Research Project

Research on reproductive control of overabundant animal populations, particularly those inhabiting urban or suburban settings (e.g., deer, Canada geese, monk parakeets, various rodents), is a high priority within the Wildlife Services Program. Traditional methods of population control, such as regulated harvest by licensed hunters, often are impractical or illegal in these areas.

The National Wildlife Research Center has been active in the development and testing of wildlife contraceptive agents since 1992. Research has shown that, to be an effective and useful wildlife contraceptive, a compound should have the following characteristics:

  • be safe for the target animal,
  • be free of undesirable side effects,
  • not affect nontarget species adversely,
  • not cause treated food animals to become unsafe for human consumption,
  • cause little or no negative social effect on target animals, and
  • induce complete and long-lasting infertility that, ideally, is reversible.

Many compounds have been tested at NWRC, including some that were highly effective in sterilizing wild mammals and birds. However, because some of these materials could not meet the criteria listed above, their use was precluded in many management situations. Currently, two vaccines, the porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccine and the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) vaccine, GonaCon™,as well as diazacon (a drug originally developed to lower cholesterol), are showing great promise for use in animal contraception.

Project Leader:
Dr. Douglas C. Eckery
4101 LaPorte Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80521
(970) 266-6163

Project Factsheet: 

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