Classroom Resources: Wildlife Contraception

By Douglas Fox
October-December 2007 / Vol. 8 No. 4

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Discussion Questions

  1. Why do we need wildlife contraception? What land use realities and human perceptions force this issue?
  2. Understand the technical aspects of this article. Go through this article and identify all the terms you do not understand, and look them up. What, for example, is a zona pellucida? An IUD? How does PZP work?
  3. Think critically about this article. For example, the author (Douglas Fox) makes the case that wildlife populations must be shrunk to match the “geography of the modern world”? Isn’t the practice of conservation to conserve as much habitat as possible for wildlife? Is wildlife contraception justifying more habitat conversion?
  4. Apply your knowledge of biology. Why are deer thriving in suburban areas? Why are wild horses growing at such a rate (when not culled or treated with a contraceptive)? What other management actions could be taken?

Websites for Further Information

Wildlife Contraception in the News

  1. Culling of Elephants http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/11/1105_041105_elephants.html
  2. White-tailed deer overpopulation
    1. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07329/836648-85.stm
    2. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-te.md.goucher07dec07,0,4238119.story
  3. African elephant overpopulation http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2004/september/elephant.htm

Peer-reviewed Literature (in addition to the citations listed in the article)

  • Fayrer-Hosken, R.A., D. Grobler, J.J. Van Altena, H.J. Bertschinger, and J.F. Kirkpatrick. 2000. Immunocontraception of African elephants. Nature 407:149.
  • Hoare, R. 2000. African elephants and humans in conflict: the outlook for co-existance. Oryx 34:34-38.
  • McShea, W.J., S.L. Monfort, S. Hakim, J. Kirkpatrick, I. Liu, J.W. Turner Jr., L.  Chassy,  L. Munsun. 1997. The effect of immunocontraception on the behavior and reproduction of white-tailed deer. Journal of Wildlife Management 61:560-569.

Key Concepts

  • Wildlife contraception
  • Human dominated landscapes
  • Public perception of wildlife management
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Reproductive technology
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