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.


Control of wildlife pest populations by sterilization could be more effective than conventional mortality agents, provided that two conditions are met: (1) the endocrine function of affected animals is not compromised, so as to exploit the natural suppression of reproduction of subordinate members of the population that occurs in many species; and (2) the incidence of sterility is sufficient to lower population recruitment and growth. Both conditions could, theoretically, be met by use of an infectious recombinant virus, expressing genes for specific reproductive antigens. Using the rabbit, I describe the research required to test the concept and discuss the legal and ethical consequences that may arise from a positive outcome to the research.