USDA National Wildlife Research Center Symposia


Date of this Version

October 1993


Contraception in wildlife management. APHIS Technical Bulletin No. 1853. USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Washington, D.C., USA.


Nuisance wildlife in areas where hunting is not an accepted practice and declining public support of lethal control measures have prompted research on contraceptives as a way to manage population levels. However, complex legal. biological, economic, and ethical issues should be addressed before such techniques are tested even on small, isolated populations. Regulatory authority by State and Federal agencies must define protocols for using contraceptive materials in wild populations. Registration of wildlife contraceptives either as pesticides or vaccines will likely be necessary. Health-related issues include harmful effects on target species, nontarget species and humans who may consume carcasses. Models for evaluating population impacts and genetics are needed. Cost-effectiveness itself and who will pay these costs must both be considered. Disruption of behavioral mechanisms and resulting population impacts raise ethical considerations. Contraception may have application with limited, isolated or confined populations, but its eventual use on free-ranging wildlife populations is questionable.